Gov. Jay Inslee today sent a letter to Washington state’s congressional delegation urging them to oppose H.R. 2, House Republicans' Farm Bill that attaches severe benefit cuts and harsh work requirements to the food assistance program known as SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
SNAP serves more than 920,000 Washingtonians — nearly one in eight of all Washingtonians — the vast majority of whom are in households with children, seniors or people with disabilities. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), this legislation would cut SNAP by more than $17 billion and reduce or eliminate benefits for 2 million beneficiaries.
"Evidence shows that SNAP is one of the most important safety-net programs for families and communities facing economic hardship, helping lift millions of working families out of poverty and food insecurity every year," Inslee wrote. “The program is also a key economic driver that supports food producers, farmers markets and retailers.”
The legislation threatens to derail a historically bipartisan process, with major implications for Washington’s agricultural sector.
“Our state is the second most agriculturally diverse in the nation, growing more than 300 different commodities on nearly 40,000 farms,” Inslee continued. “We need Congress to enact a real Farm Bill before September — not one that plays politics with our most vulnerable children and families.”
Inslee’s letter also highlighted the bill’s threat to Washington’s nationally recognized job-training program for SNAP recipients, known as Basic Food Education and Training (BFET), which has provided more than 50,000 individuals receiving food benefits with education and training services since 2005.The program’s record of success led Congress to establish a pilot program in the 2014 Farm Bill, spearheaded by members of our state’s delegation, expanding voluntary education and training (E&T) programs in Washington and nine other states.
Read the full letter.