Blueprint to Protect and Strengthen the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Catholic Social Justice teaches that every human being is entitled to adequate nutrition. The principle of subsidiarity establishes that because food insecurity is a nationwide crisis, it is the role of the federal government to act. NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice believes that in our wealthy nation, ending hunger is not only possible but is a moral imperative. Our government must create and support programs that work to alleviate immediate hunger and end hunger in the long-term.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps lift people out of poverty, reduces the number of people who lack access to nutritious food, and has lasting effects on people’s lives. However, as the government prioritizes budget cuts over funding human needs programs, SNAP is vulnerable to loss of funding as well as negative structural and programmatic changes. In September 2018, the Farm Bill – which funds SNAP – expires and will need reauthorization. As both chambers of Congress consider and negotiate a new Farm Bill, it is imperative that SNAP is maintained and strengthened.
Given the principles of our faith and the proven benefits of SNAP to lift people out of poverty, provide food security, and serve as economic stimuli, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice calls on Congress to support, rather than undermine, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and its structure.
- Protect and maintain the basic program design of SNAP. It is effective, efficient, and helps put food on the tables of 42 million people. Any changes or alleged cost savings approaches to SNAP should not affect the program’s flexibility and effectiveness in supplementing recipients’ purchasing power for basic nutrition.
- Do not cap or limit SNAP funding. Caps on funding or other limitations would restrict access to food for those who need it. SNAP benefits should take into account variables like family size and the real cost of food to ensure adequate resources.
- Prioritize access to fresh produce and choice. SNAP should uphold human dignity, which includes choice and does not stigmatize recipients. The program should encourage and increase recipients’ access to fresh produce and healthy foods over packaged and processed foods.
- Reject mandatory work requirements. Any additional employment-related provisions applied to the SNAP program should focus on providing workforce development and job training opportunities, rather than simply tying eligibility for SNAP benefits to employment.