Rep. Scott opens hearing on the federal anti-hunger program SNAP

headshot of Representative David ScottRepresentative David Scott (official Congressional photo)

U.S. Congressional Representative David Scott of Georgia’s 13th Congressional District, which includes the southern portion of Cobb County, opened a hearing entitled “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.”

Scott is chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and SNAP is part of the farm bill.

We’ve reprinted his opening remarks below:

[As prepared for delivery]

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Good morning and welcome to another important hearing, which is a continuation of our work to review the 2018 Farm Bill and prepare for the 2023 Farm Bill.

Today’s hearing will review the 2018 Farm Bill provisions related to a very important USDA program: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.

I believe that SNAP is one of the most impactful programs that we work on in this Committee. I look forward to discussing how SNAP – as the nation’s largest anti-hunger program – addresses the food insecurity of those most in need in this country.

In 2020, about 10.5 percent of U.S. households, or 13.8 million Americans, were food insecure. As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for many families to afford basic necessities, and in many cases, this included food.

Thankfully, throughout the pandemic, SNAP has worked as it should, serving as an economic stabilizer for our nation. In 2020, SNAP is estimated to have lifted 2.9 million Americans out of poverty and ensured that millions of our friends, family, and neighbors could put food on their tables, despite the difficult times we were facing.

As we grapple with the ongoing impact of the pandemic and new challenges to our food system resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I know SNAP will continue to be a critical lifeline for low-income Americans, ensuring they are able to purchase a nutritionally adequate diet.

The 2018 Farm Bill, which passed with strong bipartisan support, included many important SNAP-related provisions.

One of the most impactful has been the mandate that USDA reevaluate the Thrifty Food Plan. The resulting 2021 Thrifty Food Plan was the first in five decades to not be held cost neutral, allowing it to truly reflect the cost of an adequate diet.

Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, low-income Americans receiving SNAP benefits, on average, receive $36.24 more per person per month – or about $1.19 more per person per day.

In my District – Georgia’s 13th – the latest data shows that more than 35 thousand households participated in SNAP, or 13 percent of all households in my District, and each them are seeing an increase in their SNAP benefits thanks to the Thrifty Food Plan reevaluation.

And it’s not just in Georgia, the impact of that increase in benefits is being felt across every community in the U.S., including rural communities, which participate in SNAP at higher rates and experience a larger economic impact from SNAP benefit spending than urban areas.

Additionally, the 2018 Farm Bill included important provisions impacting SNAP employment and training, the quality control system, nutrition education, and more.

I look forward to hearing from our distinguished panel today about these provisions, as well as future opportunities to maintain and improve this critical program.

One particular area of interest for me, looking forward, is veteran hunger. Research has found that veterans have a 7.4 percent greater risk for food insecurity than non-veterans. And rates are even higher among veterans with disabilities, 33.6 percent of whom face food insecurity.

Representative Hayes – the Chairwoman of our Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations – has introduced bipartisan legislation to make it easier for veterans with disabilities to access SNAP – the Feed Hungry Veterans Act – and I am proud to be a co-lead of that bill.

I look forward to working with all the Members of our Committee on this important legislation, and I hope this hearing provides us all an opportunity to evaluate ways we can work together to improve SNAP by making it more accessible for Americans facing food insecurity.

Thank you again to the Members and witnesses for being here today.

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