San Antonio Food Bank
Photo by Sanford Nowlin
The S.A. Food Bank's Eric Cooper (left) and Rep. Lloyd Doggett discuss the farm bill's proposed cuts to food assistance.
CEO Eric Cooper and Democratic U.S. Reps. Joaquin Castro and Lloyd Doggett today warned that the farm bill facing a vote in the House would create a food crisis for low-income residents.
The bill, championed by the Trump administration and Speaker Paul Ryan, would slash $15 billion from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program
over the next five years. It's likely to face a vote Thursday.
"It's really unprecedented," Cooper said. "I could never envision withholding this most basic element — food, nutrition — from the most vulnerable people in our population."
Community food banks cover only about 8 percent of needy people's food requirements, Cooper said. That means charities such as his would be unable to make up for the bill's draconian cuts.
Additionally, the measure's tougher work requirements would make it harder for Texans to enroll in and keep SNAP assistance, Doggett said. A "one strike and you're out" rule would strip people of benefits for an entire year for being underemployed for more than a month.
Both congressmen urged citizens to call their elected officials to voice concern with the bill.
"We need to make sure we fight back on these deep cuts," Castro said.
More than 305,000 Bexar County residents receive SNAP, which includes 158,204 children and 19,294 seniors, according to state records. Last week, Doggett's office estimated the farm bill's cuts could affect 10,000 people
in Bexar County alone.
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