The Iowa Hunger Coalition (IHC) denounces calls by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to cut benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to pre-pandemic levels.
Sen. Grassley’s proposal would cut benefits by $73 per month for the average SNAP household in Iowa, slash the minimum benefit from $23 per month to $19 per month, and lead to a loss of nearly $15 million in overall economic activity to the state of Iowa every month.
Right now, hundreds of thousands of Iowans are struggling to put food on the table. Food banks and food pantries across the state are facing record-breaking need. Meanwhile, SNAP enrollment in Iowa is at a 15-year low. SNAP is already largely inaccessible to many Iowans facing hunger and food insecurity, and benefits do not go far enough. To call for cutting SNAP at this time is at best misinformed.
In a December 7 letter to House and Senate leadership co-authored with Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), Sen. Grassley called for cutting SNAP benefits to pre-pandemic levels in the next Farm Bill, which was recently extended by Congress to September 30, 2024:
Returning SNAP to pre-pandemic levels is another important policy reform that must be enacted in the farm bill reauthorization…In order to tame inflation felt by every American family, we must return to the pre-pandemic level of spending in SNAP and make sure any further updates are done at zero-cost.
In policy terms, Sen. Grassley is calling to undo the permanent increase to SNAP benefits that took effect in October 2021 after USDA FNS modernized the Thrifty Food Plan, leading to the first permanent increase in SNAP purchasing power in nearly 50 years. IHC commended the action of USDA FNS on the modernization of the Thrifty Food Plan.
Undoing the TFP modernization would slash SNAP benefits by an estimated 27%. What does that look like in Iowa? From estimates based on the state of Iowa’s October 2023 F-1 SNAP participation report:
- The average monthly household benefit would decrease from $342.87 to $269.98 (a loss of about $73 per month)
- The average daily benefit for individuals would decrease from $5.66 to $4.46
- The average per-meal benefit for individuals would decrease from $1.89 to $1.49
- The minimum monthly benefit would decrease from $23 to $19
- $9.7 million less in SNAP benefits coming into the state every month, which translates to a loss of $14.9 million in economic activity in Iowa every month
This would be absolutely devastating to the nearly 268,000 Iowans currently participating in SNAP. Cutting SNAP would harm the health and wellbeing of Iowa’s families, rural communities, and local economies. The emergency food system would face an even greater strain. Iowans are already facing difficult decisions like putting gas in the tank or food in the fridge. The last thing we need to be doing is cutting SNAP benefits.
What Can You Do?
Contact Sen. Grassley’s office and let him know you do NOT support cutting SNAP!
Call Sen. Grassley’s Washington D.C. office at (202) 224-3744.
You can also help spread the word by sharing this blog post and the social media graphics below.