WASHINGTON, DC – Pennsylvania U.S. Senator John Fetterman on Wednesday led his first hearing as Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research.
The hearing focused on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and other nutrition assistance in the 2023 Farm Bill.
“This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. SNAP is a critical safety net for ALL Americans, families, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities. It’s time to come together and stop playing political games with Americans’ access to food,” said Senator Fetterman.
Senator Fetterman is deeply committed to funding SNAP and investing in America’s farmers, rural communities, and vulnerable populations. He has promised to work toward modernizing and expanding SNAP benefits to ensure they work for Pennsylvanians in our modern economy.
House Republicans have recently targeted SNAP work requirements in exchange for not defaulting on the national debt. Senator Fetterman made clear through this hearing that stricter work requirements are ineffective. As witnesses and senators pointed out, SNAP already has some work requirements.
During the hearing, the Committee heard from five witnesses representing food banks, social service organizations, non-profits, and other food security related programs. Witnesses included Mrs. Ty Jones Cox, Vice President of Food Assistance Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Ms. Heather Reynolds, Managing Director of the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities at the University of Notre Dame; Mrs. Loree D. Jones Brown, Chief Executive Officer of Philabundance; Mr. James Whitford, Executive Director of Watered Gardens; and Ms. Whitley Hasty, Outreach Specialist at Hunger Free America & Foodlink. Witnesses spoke about their research on food assistance programs, their organizations’ work providing food assistance aid, and their lived experiences using programs like SNAP.
In addition to his work on the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, Senator Fetterman also co-sponsored the Closing the Meal Gap Act, legislation that would strengthen SNAP by raising the baseline benefit for all SNAP households and allocating more funds to those with large medical and housing expenses.
Fetterman’s closing statement at the hearing can be found here.