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Alliance to End Hunger Deeply Concerned by House Debt Ceiling Bill, Negative Impacts on Hungry Americans

The Alliance to End Hunger is deeply concerned by the passage of H.R.2811 – the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 in the House of Representatives. The legislation was introduced in response to debates surrounding the looming debt ceiling and establishes unnecessary and burdensome restrictions and cuts to programs essential to combating poverty and hunger across the country. The Alliance urges the Senate to reject this legislation.

“Those struggling to put food on the table for themselves and their families should never be a bargaining chip,” stated Eric Mitchell, Executive Director of the Alliance to End Hunger. “To do so is unhelpful and damaging to families and communities.”

The legislation would negatively affect millions of food and nutritionally insecure individuals in many ways.  Cutting the federal budget’s discretionary funding to fiscal year 2022 levels would represent a reduction in funding of about $6.15 billion for USDA in FY 2024. This draconian cut, during a time rising costs in the grocery stores, threatens the health and wellbeing of many low-income Americans and increase the number of American households experiencing food insecurity.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is estimated to serve 6.5 million individuals in 2024. This program is critical to the health and wellbeing of pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children and supports low-income families’ efforts to put nutritious food on the table. In addition, it addresses racial disparities in maternal and child health outcomes and economic prosperity. According to the USDA, these funding reductions would limit the program to about 5.07 million participants—leaving up to 1.5 million participants without these critical services.

Low-income seniors are particularly vulnerable to hunger and isolation. Eighty percent of low-income, food-insecure seniors are not receiving the meals they likely need.  Funding reductions in these areas would potentially affect 1.4 million seniors accessing nutritious meals through Department of Health and Human Services and Meals on Wheels programs.

Fundamental changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) could also have devastating consequences as it directly impacts household food budgets to supplement a nutritious diet.  Currently serving about 42 million individuals, the vast majority of SNAP benefits support the diets of our nation’s most vulnerable households, including children, elderly, and people living with disabilities.  The proposed changes to expand already stringent work requirements to households with young children and seniors would add administrative barriers to about 25% of SNAP households, putting them at risk of losing food benefits.

“While we realize the need to have difficult discussions related to budgets and policies, the consequences of such decisions cannot be placed on the backs of those already struggling to get by,” stated Mitchell. “The Alliance and our coalition will continue to work with policymakers across the political spectrum to ensure that food security and nutrition continue to be bipartisan priorities that they historically have been.”

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