Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts reaffirmed his opposition yesterday to block-granting SNAP (formerly called food stamps), saying a block grant is “not the answer,” “SNAP seems to be working,” and the Committee will find ways to improve the program when it drafts the upcoming farm bill. Chairman Roberts is right to support SNAP’s decades-long federal guarantee to help low-income households across the country afford an adequate diet.
Despite SNAP’s modest benefits ¾ only about $1.40 on average per person per meal ¾ it’s a critical foundation for millions of low-income families, senior citizens, and people with disabilities who use its benefits to put food on the table each month.
There are a number of problems with converting SNAP to a block grant, or with other changes that would cap SNAP’s funding or merge it with other programs, as some House Republican leaders have proposed. We detail these problems in a new paper and a video featuring my colleague Jared Bernstein. For instance:
SNAP works, strong evidence shows. It lifts millions of households out of poverty and helps tens of millions come closer to affording an adequate diet. And research finds that it improves child health, helps kids do better in school, and improves their long-term health and economic outcomes. Policymakers shouldn’t weaken its effectiveness with a block grant.