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Center For Popular Democracy Response To Release Of Farm Bill

“Politicians should be strengthening and expanding the social safety net, not actively working to undermine it,” says national community organizing network


Yesterday afternoon, the House Agriculture Committee released the 2018 Agriculture and Nutrition Act, an $844 billion measure authorizing farm programs and policy, as well as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. 

The bill that was released includes deep cuts to food assistance and requires recipients of food stamps between the ages of 18-59 to either work 20 hours per week or use the time in a work or employment training program. Education is often not allowed to stand in for work requirements. The bill also includes mandatory drug testing in order for people to get food stamps. It comes on the heels of a new Executive Order that encourages work requirements for all public assistance programs. 

In response to the release of the bill, the Center for Popular Democracy released the following statement from Jennifer Epps Addison, Co-Executive Director and Network President: 

“Since the gutting of welfare programs in the 1990s, we have seen lawmakers again and again stick unnecessary, punitive, and wasteful requirements on critical government benefits. 

Rather than lifting families out of poverty, these requirements have one goal: to arbitrarily punish and scapegoat low income communities. Poverty and income equality are increasing in communities all across the United States, and this bill will make a growing crisis worse. 

My family relied on public assistance programs - including food and childcare assistance - at our most vulnerable time. They kept us out of poverty. With so many in our communities struggling to find jobs that pay living wages, politicians should be strengthening and expanding the social safety net, not actively working to undermine it. 

The irony of this bill is that after creating a trillion dollar deficit by passing the Trump Tax Scam, Republicans are now trying to force vulnerable communities to pay for their giveaways. All lawmakers should say no to any bill that includes work and drug testing requirements.  

Our communities will not only fight hard to ensure this bill does not reach Trump’s desk, but also demand that the Trump tax scam is repealed and invested in resources for struggling neighborhoods all across America.“


Media Contact:
Asya PIkovsky, apikovsky@populardemocracy.org, 207-522-2442