Statement attributed to Luis Guardia, president, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)
WASHINGTON, March 26, 2020 — The Senate/White House compromise on the $2 trillion emergency package includes key investments that address some important COVID-19 challenges that workers, health care providers, and state, local, and tribal governments face, but more action is needed to help struggling households keep food on the table. Specifically, lawmakers must boost Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in any future stimulus packages.
Although the bill includes $15.5 billion more for SNAP to cover the projected increase in applications and the costs of relief authorized in H.R. 6201, FRAC is disappointed that lawmakers missed this opportunity to include a 15 percent boost to the SNAP maximum benefit and an increase in the minimum monthly SNAP benefit to $30. Such boosts and new investments are critical to ensuring the well-being of vulnerable people and the economy.
The value of SNAP’s effective and quick economic impact was demonstrated during the Great Recession, when benefits were temporarily boosted through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Research shows that during an economic downturn, each $1 of SNAP benefits leads to between $1.50 and $1.80 in total economic activity.
FRAC urges lawmakers to start work now on enacting additional emergency relief that leverages SNAP’s effectiveness in stimulating the economy and promoting food security and health. Hungry people can’t wait.