This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the safety net, SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps), the economy, health reform, and the federal budget and taxes.
On the safety net, we highlighted the congressional testimony of Sister Simone Campbell, the leader of “Nuns on the Bus,” who illustrated how safety net programs can reduce hardship and expand opportunity. Arloc Sherman noted that the safety net lifts millions of people out of poverty and explained how these programs promote work and support low-income working families. Ed Bolen described how some states are taking the lead in streamlining and better coordinating safety net programs and services that support low-wage work.
On SNAP, Stacy Dean warned that all participants face a serious benefit cut on November 1, when the 2009 Recovery Act’s temporary benefit boost ends.
On the economy, we explained that SNAP enrollment is still high because the job market is still weak and noted that though the unemployment rate has fallen, more unemployed workers lack jobless benefits, adding to those who qualify for SNAP. Chad Stone said that the July jobs report shows a familiar pattern of private employers adding jobs, yet employment remaining below pre-recession levels.
On health reform, Sarah Lueck pointed out that many low- and moderate-income Floridians will be eligible for federal tax credits to help pay health insurance premiums. Edwin Park explained that the House’s latest health reform repeal effort would make health coverage less affordable, and he noted that the Administration is implementing health reform as the law intended in allowing the federal government to continue to contribute to the costs of health insurance for members of Congress and their staff once they enroll in the new exchanges.
On the federal budget and taxes, Chuck Marr explained how President Obama’s new proposal for corporate tax reform and infrastructure investments addresses the need for job creation and avoids tax reform timing gimmicks, but would be stronger if it included more revenue.