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Public Health Institute Statement on U.S. Senate Passage of the Farm Bill

June 10, 2013

Statement from Matthew Marsom, Vice President, Public Health Policy & Advocacy

“Today, the U.S. Senate passed the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act (S. 954), commonly known as the farm bill, by a bipartisan vote of 66-27. The Public Health Institute (PHI) congratulates Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Cochran (R-MS) for their leadership to advance this legislation in a bipartisan fashion.

“The Senate farm bill adopts important policy and program improvements that promote healthy eating for all Americans. The Senate wisely rejected deeper cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and will continue to fully fund SNAP-Ed, a vital nutrition education program that promotes healthy options for low-income children and families receiving SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps. This bill also provides important support for fruit and vegetable growers, promotes local agriculture, creates jobs and provides new opportunities to increase low-income families’ access to nutritious foods.

“PHI is disappointed that the Senate bill contains $4.1 billion in cuts that would reduce monthly nutrition benefits for 500,000 SNAP families by an average of $90 a month. These cuts are significant and will put these working families under additional hardship and at nutritional risk.

“As the farm bill moves to the House of Representatives, PHI urges members to reject the deep $20.5 billion in proposed cuts to the nutrition programs that would compromise the health and well-being of vulnerable children and families who are struggling to make ends meet, and to restore funding for SNAP benefits and SNAP nutrition education.

“PHI will continue to work with Congress and our partners in public health, nutrition, hunger and agriculture communities to protect SNAP and SNAP-Ed as the farm bill advances.”