On Friday, November 1, millions of Americans felt the effects of an automatic cut to food purchasing assistance provided through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This is assistance that serves to help families get back on their feet, and children to receive the nourishment they need to stay healthy and competitive in the classroom. For many families, these cuts are devastating, and couldn’t come at a worse time as they begin to regain their footing following the worst recession since the Great Depression.
That is why President Obama has proposed an extension of pre-November funding levels in the 2014 budget. As the economy continues to grow and recover, SNAP is proven to effectively combat hunger and food insecurity while giving millions of hardworking Americans the temporary boost they need during tough times.
In the wake of this cut, the strategy currently underway in the House to remove millions more families from SNAP makes even less sense. The House’s current approach will stall our economic growth over the months and years ahead, while hampering our ability to build a stronger, more robust American workforce. That is why it is imperative that Congress pass a long-term, comprehensive Farm Bill that supports a strong agricultural economy, while ensuring healthy, affordable food for those who need it, when they need it.
The Obama Administration is committed to helping reduce the number of Americans who need SNAP the right way—by arming them with the skills they need to succeed in the workforce and opportunities to earn the income they need to support a family.
Working to end hunger in America should be a major priority for all Americans. Having boys and girls going to bed hungry and struggling to perform in the classroom is both heartbreaking and completely unacceptable. Stemming hunger is more than the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing for our economy, for business, and for ensuring the competitiveness of American workers.
Valerie Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama. She oversees the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Cecilia Muñoz is the Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council.