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“We can and must do better” PHI Statement on House passage of nutrition bill HR 3102

September 19, 2013

STATEMENT FROM MATTHEW MARSOM, VICE PRESIDENT, PUBLIC HEALTH POLICY & ADVOCACY

"PHI strongly opposes today’s passage of House nutrition bill H.R. 3102. If enacted, it would devastate millions of families across the country struggling to put healthy foods on the table.

"The $39 billion in cuts to SNAP and SNAP-Ed would drop an estimated 3.8 million people from the rolls in 2014 alone; another 850,000 would see a reduction in benefits. These cuts would come on top of already scheduled cuts slated to take effect in November that would also reduce benefits for every SNAP participant.

"This bill defies a fundamental value of our country to stand up for our most vulnerable. 92% of those receiving SNAP are children, elderly, disabled, and working adults. This bill would send more children to school hungry, cut children off from healthy school lunches and leave some parents skipping meals so their children will have enough to eat. We can and must do better.

"This bill would not only reduce actual benefits for families and kick others off the program entirely, but it would also make it harder for low-income families to develop the skills for getting the most nutrition with their limited resources, by cutting SNAP-Ed nutrition education funding. SNAP-Ed works to reduce hunger by helping families stretch food budgets and eat more healthily. SNAP-Ed can decrease food insecurity, boost fruit and vegetable consumption and increase physical activity—a smart investment in reducing long-term health care costs.

"PHI urges Congress to find a bipartisan approach that will protect benefits for low-income children and families across the country that rely on SNAP and SNAP-Ed. The House's nutrition bill is not the answer."