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Daily Action: Remove SNAP Work Requirements from Farm Bill

Rep. Julia Brownley: 
DC: (202) 225-5811
Thousand Oaks: (805) 379-1779
Rep. Ted Lieu:
DC: (202) 225-3976
LA: (323) 651-1040
Rep. Steve Knight:
DC: (202) 225-1956
Simi Valley: (805) 581-7130

Sample Script:
Hello, my name is __________, and I am a constituent of Representative ___________'s in _______________, California. I am calling to urge the congressperson to vote against reauthorizing the Farm Bill if it includes any work requirements for SNAP beneficiaries. Wisconsin's experience with similar requirements has been a failure, leaving tens of thousands of residents without adequate food and exacerbating poverty in the state. SNAP provides critical support to working families during tough times, and restricting access will worsen poverty rates and hurt local economies. Thank you!

The House Agriculture Committee voted last week, along party lines, to advance the Farm Bill to the House floor for a full vote. Every 5 years Congress must reauthorize the Farm Bill, which is the federal government's primary tool for setting agricultural and food policy -- covering commodity programs, trade, rural development, conservation, and agricultural research. Its largest budget item is food and nutrition programs for struggling Americans, in the form of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), popularly known as "food stamps." SNAP helps over 40 million low-income Americans purchase food -- most of them children, seniors, and adults with disabilities.

For the first time, House Republicans have added new strict work requirements to the legislation, requiring millions of people who get food aid through SNAP to either have a job or attend job training classes for 20 hours a week. Those who violate the work requirements would become ineligible for SNAP benefits for a 1 year, with subsequent violations resulting in a 3-year loss of benefits. These restrictions are based on a model implemented this decade by Republicans in Wisconsin, led by governor Scott Walker. About 86,000 Wisconsinites have been kicked off the SNAP rolls even though they hadn't found new jobs -- creating an influx of new visitors to food pantries and soup kitchens, as well as a surge in homelessness in the state.

Research has shown that access to SNAP reduces poverty and food insecurity, leading to lasting improvements in recipients’ health and economic stability. SNAP access also helps non-disabled working age adults reenter the workforce by providing crucial financial support while they are in between jobs. Local economies benefit from SNAP as well; a 2010 U.S. Department of Agriculture analysis estimated that for every $1 dollar spent on SNAP benefits, $1.79 was reinvested into the economy.