Oregon Food Bank and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon Call on Reps. Salinas and Chavez-DeRemer to vote NO on a new Farm Bill Proposal that Cuts $500 Million in Food Assistance for Oregonians

Portland, OR — Today, Oregon Food Bank and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon unite in opposition to a new Farm Bill proposal in the U.S. House that would take away $500 million in food assistance for Oregonians. The proposal — which permanently rolls back recent improvements to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — will likely be voted on by the House Committee on Agriculture on May 23, 2024. 

“As hunger rates in Oregon rise due to high food and housing prices, the threat of cuts to SNAP benefits looms large, posing a dire consequence for the well-being of all Oregonians who use SNAP,” says Sammi Teo, Public Policy Advocate at Oregon Food Bank. “Last year, we saw 1.9 million visits to food assistance sites through the Oregon Food Bank Network — a 14% increase from the previous year. Any reduction in SNAP benefits would only deepen this hunger crisis.

SNAP is our country’s most effective anti-hunger program and lifts millions of people out of poverty each year. SNAP provided an estimated average of $183 a month (about $6 a day) per person in fiscal year 2023. Although the primary purpose of this modest benefit is to allow people to afford food, a significant amount of research over the last 15+ years demonstrates how SNAP enhances our overall well-being far beyond the scope of food security. This proposal to cut SNAP will not only jeopardize food security, but also the extensive benefits of food security, such as reduced health care costs, increased likelihood of employment, and improved academic performance in our schools.

The House Farm Bill proposal, put forth by House Agriculture Chair Glenn “GT” Thompson, cuts SNAP benefits for all participants by freezing the USDA’s ability to update the Thrifty Food Plan to accurately reflect the cost of a healthy, realistic diet accurately. This means an estimated $500 million cut to SNAP benefits for Oregonians from 2027-2033 and threatens to put millions of Americans at increased risk of hunger and malnutrition, specifically:

  • 17 million children (5 million of which are under age five),
  • 6 million adults aged 60 or older, 
  • 4 million disabled individuals and
  • the millions of Americans who rely on SNAP.

Advocates are calling on Oregon Reps. Lori Chavez-DeRemer and Andrea Salinas — members of the House Agriculture Committee — to vote no on this proposal. 

“Hunger is on the rise in Oregon; this couldn’t come at a worse time,” adds Angelita Morillo, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. “We are committed to ensuring all Oregonians have access to the nourishment we need to thrive. Cutting SNAP benefits would not only harm those directly impacted but also threaten the resilience of our communities as a whole.”

The Senate’s Farm Bill proposal, led by Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, stands in stark contrast to the proposal in the House by avoiding SNAP cuts and taking modest steps forward. Oregon Food Bank and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon applaud Stabenow’s proposal which strengthens SNAP, preserves the Thrifty Food Plan’s update potential, and safeguards investments in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), aiding farmers and food banks. This bipartisan effort highlights a commitment to addressing food insecurity, but robust SNAP protections are crucial for meaningful impact.

Oregon advocates are rallying ahead of the May 23 vote to protect SNAP benefits, urging Congress to prioritize the well-being of Oregonians and oppose Chair Glenn “GT” Thompson’s proposed SNAP cuts.