Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) denounced a vote by the House of Representatives which cut an additional $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The House’s extreme plan built upon already unprecedented cuts to the SNAP program even though economic data shows $1 in SNAP spending generates $1.70 in economic activity. Casey vowed to fight against the House’s new plan and detailed the impact that this new round of cuts will have on vulnerable Pennsylvania children, families and seniors.
“The House of Representatives’ plan to institute further draconian cuts to the SNAP program is bad for the economy, Pennsylvania’s children, families and seniors,” Senator Casey said. “Over the last few years the Senate has pushed for substantial reforms to the SNAP program to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Despite these steps, the House is intent on further eroding a program that is vital to thousands of Pennsylvania children and seniors."
Pennsylvania data on the SNAP program can be found here.
SNAP Plays a Critical Role in Helping Children
- SNAP is the Nation’s largest child nutrition program, helping an estimated 22 million children, or close to one in three, eat a nutritionally sound diet.
- Almost half of all SNAP recipients are children (45 percent), and an additional 22 percent are adults living with children. Almost forty percent of all SNAP recipients live in households with preschool-age children (ages 4 and below).
- Poverty remains a significant problem for many children, with over one in five children (21.9 percent) in the United States living in poverty in 2011 and more than one in five children (22.5 percent) living in families that have difficultly affording adequate food (“food insecure”).
- In 2011, nearly 1 million children lived in families that had to substantially change their eating patterns or reduce food intake as a result of inability to afford an adequate diet. Food insecurity among families with children would be even higher without SNAP benefits.
SNAP Significantly Reduces Child Poverty
- While SNAP benefits are modest (only $1.40 per person, per meal), in 2011, SNAP kept about 2.1 million children out of poverty and lifted 1.5 million children out of deep poverty more than any other benefit program.
- A typical family with children that is enrolled in SNAP had income (not including SNAP) of about $10,785 annually for a family of three in 2012. Families in the greatest need receive the largest benefits.
- SNAP is effective in reducing extreme poverty (people earning less than $2 a day). A study by the National Poverty Center found that counting SNAP benefits as income reduced the number of extremely low-income families with children in 2011 from 1.46 million to 800,000, and reduced the number of children in extreme poverty in 2011 by half — from 2.8 million to 1.4 million.
- Low-income children are more likely to get SNAP benefits than any other group – over 92 percent of eligible children and 94 percent of eligible preschool-age children received benefits in 2010, compared to 76 percent of non-elderly adults and only 35 percent of elderly adults. Still, an estimated 1.4 million eligible children are missing out on benefits, according to the USDA’s most recent estimates.