On Tuesday afternoon, a pair of Obama administration officials joined a media call to address a new White House report, regarding the hotly contested Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Along with working to end hunger and addressing poverty disparities, SNAP has also been a helpful boost to farmers nationwide.
The report, “Supporting Families, Strengthening Communities: The Economic Importance Of Nutrition Assistance,” highlights the program’s aim and scope despite heavy criticism from conservative opponents in Congress.
Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, and Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, discussed the finer points of SNAP and focused on the upcoming holiday as a central theme of why SNAP benefits, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, remain a key component in supporting the needs of the less fortunate.
As noted in the call and report, the United States Farm Bill has been authorizing the SNAP program for the past four decades. Last year, SNAP kept 5 million persons out of poverty, including 2.2 million children, according to the report. The young were especially focal in today’s call and the report, with the officials noting that the instances of child poverty dropped 3 percent last year as well.
An earlier Pew Research study found the disparities apparent between race and gender regarding SNAP are telling: Women have used SNAP benefits twice as much as men at 23 versus 12 percent comparatively. Blacks outnumbered Whites and Hispanics in using the benefits, sitting at 31 percent. Hispanics reported in at 22 percent, with Whites claiming 15 percent of that number. Another telling number is that four-in-10 Black women say they have used SNAP, almost twice as much as Black men.
Legislation passed by Republicans in the House of Representatives would be a massive threat to SNAP, says the report. Nearly 4 million Americans would lose benefits next year and over 210,000 students would be ousted from free lunch programs, which is one of the most-significant benefits for the poor in regards to education.
Read the White House SNAP benefits report in full here.