Their Biographies, Issue Positions, Voting Records, Public Statements, Ratings and their Funders.

Letter to the Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, the Hon. Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader, the Hon. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, and the Hon. Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader - With Food Insecurity on the Rise, Pingree Joins Push to Expand SNAP Eligibility & Increase Minimum Monthly Benefit


By: Gwen Moore, Mark Pocan, Adam Smith, Derek Kilmer, Suzan DelBene, Peter Welch, Gerry Connolly, Bobby Scott, Ben McAdams, Filemon Vela, Jr., Eddie Johnson, Sylvia Garcia, Henry Cuellar, Joaquin Castro, Sheila Jackson Lee, Vicente Gonzalez, Al Green, Steve Cohen, Jim Cooper, Jim Langevin, David Cicilline, Conor Lamb, Susan Wild, Mary Scanlon, Madeleine Dean, Dwight Evans, Brendan Boyle, Brian Fitzpatrick, Peter DeFazio, Suzanne Bonamici, Kendra Horn, Tim Ryan, Marcia Fudge, Marcia Kaptur, Joyce Beatty, Brian Higgins, Joe Morelle, John Katko, Anthony Brindisi, Paul Tonko, Antonio Delgado, Sean Maloney, Eliot Engel, José Serrano, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Adriano Espaillat, Carolyn Maloney, Max Rose, Jerry Nadler, Yvette Clarke, Nydia Velázquez, Grace Meng, Kathleen Rice, Thomas Suozzi, Susie Lee, Dina Titus, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Albio Sires, Frank Pallone, Jr., Joshua Gottheimer, Ann Kuster, Chris Pappas, Alma Adams, David Price, G.K. Butterfield, Jr., Bennie Thompson, Emanuel Cleaver II, Lacy Clay, Jr., Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Debbie Dingell, Elissa Slotkin, Dan Kildee, Jared Golden, Jamie Raskin, David Trone, Anthony Brown, John Sarbanes, Dutch Ruppersberger, Bill Keating, Stephen Lynch, Ayanna Pressley, Seth Moulton, Katherine Clark, Joe Kennedy III, Lori Trahan, Jim McGovern, Richard Neal, Cedric Richmond, Sharice Davids, André Carson, Cheri Bustos, Bill Foster, Jan Schakowsky, Danny Davis, Robin Kelly, Bobby Rush, Edward Case, David Scott, Sanford Bishop, Jr., Donna Shalala, Frederica Wilson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Sr., Kathy Castor, Val Demings, Darren Soto, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Eleanor Norton, Jahana Hayes, Jim Himes, Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, Joe Neguse, Diana DeGette, Susan Davis, Scott Peters, Juan Vargas, Mike Levin, Alan Lowenthal, Lou Correa, Katie Porter, Nanette Barragán, Maxine Waters, Mark Takano, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Gil Cisneros, Linda Sánchez, Karen Bass, Raul Ruiz, Norma Torres, Jimmy Gomez, Ted Lieu, Grace Napolitano, Pete Aguilar, Judy Chu, Julia Brownley, Salud Carbajal, T. J. Cox, Jimmy Panetta, Zoe Lofgren, Anna Eshoo, Ro Khanna, Jim Costa, Eric Swalwell, Jackie Speier, Barbara Lee, Mark DeSaulnier, Josh Harder, Jerry McNerney, Doris Matsui, Mike Thompson, John Garamendi, Jared Huffman, Ruben Gallego, Raul Grijalva, Ann Kirkpatrick, Tom O'Halleran, Terri Sewell, Donald Young, Chellie Pingree
Date: June 29, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Leader McConnell, and Leader Schumer,

As you consider additional measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge you to boost and protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to address rising food insecurity and unprecedented demand at area food banks. Specifically, we ask you to increase the maximum SNAP benefit by 15 percent and increase the minimum monthly benefit to $30 throughout the duration of this crisis, as well as suspend administrative rules with the potential to weaken program eligibility.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused food insecurity to double among all households and triple among households with children according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In just nine weeks, the jobless rate is now the highest since the Great Depression with 38.6 million people having sought jobless benefits. Among job losses and other health and economic strains on families, the cost of groceries has seen its highest one-month increase in almost 50 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic's monthly Consumer Price Index report. This is a tipping point for families who are already struggling to stretch their food dollars.

The crisis has further deepened the inequities that existed long before the onset of the pandemic, with households of color disproportionately impacted. In April 2020, more than one in three households with children, and approximately two in five Black and Hispanic households with children, were food insecure. With schools and childcare centers closed, families are stretched even further to find the resources needed to feed their children who regularly receive meals at school and childcare.

SNAP is the largest and most effective nutrition program in the country, serving as our nation's first line of defense against hunger and food insecurity. According to the latest Census data, SNAP lifted 3.4 million individuals out of poverty in 2017, including 1.5 million children. A majority of SNAP participants, nearly 70 percent, are families with children and research also demonstrates 74 percent of adult SNAP participants are working or have worked within a year of SNAP participation. Though benefits average approximately $1.40 per person per meal, recent studies suggest every $1 of SNAP benefits during an economic downturn generates between $1.50 and $1.80 in economic activity.

Increasing SNAP benefits is a proven effective way to address hunger and pump money back into the economy, particularly during an economic downtown. According to USDA's Economic Research Service, after Congress increased SNAP benefits in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, the prevalence of food insecurity fell by 2.2 percentage points among low-income households and the prevalence of very low food security fell by 2.0 percentage points. The ARRA boost also helped increase food expenditures by 5.4 percent among low-income households.

Overwhelmed food banks and emergency food providers across the country are racing to fill the immediate need, but they cannot match the reach of SNAP. According to Feeding America "for every one meal that the nation's network of food banks provides, SNAP provides nine." With so many American impacted by this crisis, it is critical that Congress work to provide a sustainable safety net that ensures a basic level of nutritional support for those struggling in our communities.

For this reason, we request the immediate consideration of legislation that will make critical investments in SNAP at a time when people need it most. Specifically, we believe that Congress must take up provisions to strengthen SNAP, bolster vulnerable communities across the country, and give a hand up to millions of people facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.