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Pingree, Agriculture Committee Democrats Draw Red Line on SNAP

Amid continued Republican threats to take food away from hungry Americans by weakening the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation's most effective anti-hunger program, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and her fellow Democratic House Agriculture Committee members are calling on Speaker Kevin McCarthy to respect the Farm Bill process and leave partisan politics out of negotiating programs that countless American farmers and families depend on.

"You have seen what happens when leadership gets involved in dictating the details of the farm bill, particularly when the issue involved is SNAP, the safety net for America’s working poor and elderly," the lawmakers wrote.

The letter writers continued, cautioning: "The failures of the 2014 and 2018 House versions of the farm bill their first time up for consideration caused a great deal of anxiety in rural America. That should be enough of a reminder to you that playing partisan SNAP politics does nothing to address the needs of our farm and ranch families who depend on the other components of the farm bill, whether it’s the farm safety net, conservation, trade or other titles."

Read the full letter here.

The Democratic Members of the House Agriculture Committee who joined Ranking Member Scott and Congresswoman Pingree as signatories of the letter are: Representatives Jim Costa (D-Calif.), James P. McGovern (D-Mass.), Dr. Alma S. Adams (D-N.C.), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.), Shontel Brown (D-Ohio), Sharice L. Davids (D-Kan.), Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), Dr. Yadira Caraveo (D-Colo.), Andrea Salinas (D-Ore.), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Wash.), Donald G. Davis (D-N.C.), Jill Tokuda (D-Hawaii), Nikki Budzinski (D-Ill.), Eric Sorensen (D-Ill.), Gabe Vasquez (D-N.M.), Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas), Jonathan Jackson (D-Ill.), Greg Casar (D-Texas), Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.), Angie Craig (D-Minn.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.), and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.). 

In Pingree’s district, 23,000 households depend on SNAP benefits each month, while statewide, 145,000 Mainers, including more than 46,000 children, get help from SNAP to put food on their tables. 

During a House Agriculture Committee hearing in June, Pingree vehemently defended essential programs like the SNAP under threat from House Republicans in what may be the Committee’s only hearing on Nutrition, the fourth Title of the Farm Bill.

Pingree is a longtime farmer and member of both the House Agriculture Committee and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. Throughout her tenure in Congress, Pingree has strengthened local and regional food systems, supporting farmers and helping more people access locally grown food. She has worked to help give farmers the tools needed to respond to climate change, and reduce food waste in the U.S, co-chairing the bipartisan House Congressional Food Recovery Caucus. She also cofounded the bipartisan Food is Medicine Working Group. She has made fighting to protect food programs like SNAP a priority in the upcoming Farm Bill.


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