Caracole Supports the Senate Version of the Farm Bill
Originally, the US House and Senate had to jointly vote on an Agriculture Bill prior to September 30; this bill includes reauthorization, funding and rules for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), America’s food stamp program. During the process of passing this bill, we at Caraocle supported the Senate Version of the Farm Bill as it provided a key safety net desperately needed in our community.
Although we did not get the Senate Farm Bill passed before the Farm Bill Reauthorization date of Sept. 30, we are celebrating a temporary victory, along with our allies: The Farm Bill Reauthorization has been delayed until after the Mid- Term Elections, and the current SNAP policy continues unchanged until the next Farm Bill Reauthorization.
After the mid-term Elections, Congress will likely get back to work on designing the final version of the Farm Bill (80% of which is SNAP, 20% farm subsidies). This means we need to keep speaking up at every opportunity we have to emphasize the importance of SNAP as America’s frontline defense against domestic hunger.
More than 40 million Americans struggle to put food on the table. While charitable organizations play a role in addressing hunger, the overwhelming majority of food assistance comes from federal programs such as SNAP. When available, SNAP can help individuals and families living in poverty to obtain the healthy and nutritious food necessary for their health and wellbeing. About 250 Caracole clients currently use SNAP to cover part of their food costs each month.
The Senate version of the Farm bill protects food assistance for 40 million low-income Americans, provides incentives for nutrition and healthy eating, promotes job training programs and employment programs for SNAP recipients, and allows for a 3-year recertification period for seniors and people with disabilities on fixed incomes to help them stay on food assistance without bureaucratic glitches.
Unfortunately, the House version of the Farm Bill (HB 2) slashes $20 billion out of the SNAP Program ending benefits for 2 million Americans. Among other issues, the House Bill restricts SNAP eligibility by increasing work documentation requirements. Many adults receiving SNAP are working, but proving the hours worked when working multiple temporary, shift and gig jobs typical of low wage and entry level workers can be a nightmare. People living with chronic disease such as HIV may often move in and out of the workforce, and these requirements place very serious, expensive and unnecessary documentation burdens. People will lose their food stamps because they cannot prove their working hours.
The Farm Bill must protect against hunger by strengthening SNAP, the cornerstone of our nation’s nutrition safety net. It must ensure access to affordable, nutritious food for vulnerable populations, including seniors, single mothers, veterans, currently-serving military families, workforce training participants and college students and people re-entering the workforce.
HOW CAN YOU HELP? TAKE ACTION!
EMAIL your representatives! Please write today with a dual message: thank Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown for working together to reauthorize American’s key program with humane legislation, and ask Representatives Chabot, Wenstrup and Davidson to reject the problematic aspects of the House Farm bill and support the Senate version instead as a better safety net for our clients and our communities.
Caracole Opposes Ohio House Bill 658
Proposed Ohio House Bill 658 (1) requires teachers, counselors (and other government agencies) to notify parents in writing if a child “demonstrates a desire to be treated in a manner opposite” of their “biological sex” and (2) requires written authorization from all birth parents and legal guardians before trans-related medical care, counseling or education is issued and prohibits the state from taking action (such as custody determinations) when parents refuse to provide medically-necessary care. Authorizing or providing treatment or counseling without parental consent would be a felony.
Caracole, its partners in GLSEN and Equality Ohio, as well as opponents from teachers groups, ACLU and many others, feel that this bill asks teachers to police what behavior is gender appropriate and also orders them to “out” children who confide in them, endangering children and placing them in the path of abuse. It also blocks children from access to medical care and from protection from parental abuse where issues of gender identity or sexual orientation are involved. Caracole, in its vision of a healthy, inclusive community, opposes proposed Ohio HB 658.
HOW CAN YOU HELP? TAKE ACTION!
- Click on any of the 15 Representatives on the right side of the above website. It will link to the Representative’s page with a link to contact them.
- In the email form, enter your information, write “House Bill 658” in the subject line and copy and paste the message below (substituting your preferred text as necessary.)
- Repeat for ALL 15 Representatives and get all your friends to do the same.