Now that Congress is returning from its break, Farm Bill negotiations between the House and Senate versions will begin in earnest. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities suggests the following actions to protect SNAP:
1. If any of your members of Congress are members of the farm bill conference committee and have voted in support of SNAP in the past: Contact their offices before the meeting on September 5th to thank them for all the work they have done so far to protect SNAP, remind them that they are an important line of defense for the program, and ask them to make a strong statement about protecting SNAP in the final farm bill and rejecting harmful provisions to take away food assistance from struggling Americans. Here is a list of senators on the conference committee, and here are the lists of Democratic House members and Republican House members on the committee.
2. For other members of Congress who have voted in support of SNAP in the past or expressed concerns about harmful cuts and changes to SNAP (especially moderate House Republicans): Urge them to work with their leadership and the Agriculture Committee leadership to ensure that the final farm bill contains the Senate’s bipartisan, responsible SNAP provisions. And remember to thank those who have already voted in support of SNAP, including all House Democrats who opposed the harmful House farm bill, the House moderate Republicans who opposed the bill due to the SNAP provisions, and the Senate Republicans who helped defeat a harmful SNAP amendment during the Senate floor debate. (You can see how your senators voted on that amendment here: A “yes” vote to table the amendment was a vote in support of SNAP.)
3. Take advantage of Labor Day, Hunger Action Month, and other hooks for communications efforts: Labor Day (Monday, September 3) is a good hook for earned media and social media activities that share basic facts about SNAP and work and reiterate that the Senate farm bill builds on SNAP’s strong history of supporting work while the House farm bill takes away people’s food assistance with little promise of helping them find good jobs and succeed. Here are talking points you can use in op-eds, letters to the editor, blog posts, and other written materials around Labor Day, and here are non-branded graphics you can share on social media. Next week is also the start of Hunger Action Month, when communities across the country renew their commitment to ending hunger. Many food banks and food pantries host special events for Hunger Action Month, and media outlets may be more willing to cover the issues of hunger and food insecurity. For more ideas on how to use Hunger Action Month and other hooks to support your efforts on SNAP, check out the Farm Bill Toolkit.