Costa, California Congressional Delegation Slam Newest Administration Proposal to Cut SNAP Benefits

Oct 21, 2019
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) joined California Congressional colleagues Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) and Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13) in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, opposing the Trump Administration’s recent proposal to restrict states’ ability to set their own standards of eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

This proposal, the third attack on SNAP (known as CalFresh in California) by the Administration this year, would reduce benefits for nineteen percent of current recipients, and as many as 8,000 households will lose eligibility altogether. It would also disproportionately impact working families, the elderly and people with disabilities:

“As I’ve said before, these proposals are nothing more than an excuse for the Administration to kick hungry American’s off SNAP, said Costa. “In my district, 25% of my constituents depend on these benefits to feed themselves and their families. I fought to expand SNAP eligibility in the 2018 Farm Bill, which the President agreed to and signed into law. These egregious attacks on our most vulnerable residents must stop. I will continue to fight for seniors, children and working families to ensure they receive the help they so desperately need.”

In communities across California, CalFresh beneficiaries count on an assistance program that considers the high cost of living, including energy costs. Currently policy allows state flexibility to determine how they calculate these costs and rates. Unsurprisingly, low-income Californian’s spend a disproportionate amount of their income on energy:

“California food banks are on the frontlines of hunger and see first-hand the inhumane trade-offs that low-income families make between food and other basic needs like high utility bills,” said Andrew Cheyne, Director of Government Affairs for the California Association of Food Banks. “USDA’s own analysis estimates this will cut benefits for a quarter of all SNAP households in California – one million people. Cuts like this have real consequences. If this rule is enacted, people will go hungry just to keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter.”