Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Ranking Member on the Labor, Health, and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee and member of the Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration Appropriations Subcommittee, held a press conference yesterday to discuss the critical importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). She was joined by economists, advocates, and a former food stamp recipient. DeLauro has been a strong supporter of the program and has spent years working to ensure that the federal food assistance program continues to meet the needs of struggling Americans. For example, in 2008, when the historic recession started to impact families across the country, resulting in increased poverty, hunger, and food insecurity, DeLauro, and then Chair of the Appropriations Committee, David Obey (D-WI), worked to ensure an increase in food stamp funding within the 2008 Farm Bill.
Recent Census data suggests that SNAP benefits have lifted millions of children and families above the poverty line. Additionally, food stamps added nearly $5 billion to the national economy in 2009 alone. Responding to recent attacks on the program, DeLauro maintains that food stamps, like unemployment insurance, bridge the gap to help families make ends meet. The other speakers agreed that safety-net programs, like SNAP, are effective and critical as the economy continues to recover. David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World, urged lawmakers to protect funding for crucial programs as millions of Americans continue to be impacted by poverty and unemployment.