Gillibrand is seeking to remove a provision in the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S.3240) that cuts $4.5 billion from Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) over 10 years.
"Food stamps are an extraordinary investment because for every dollar that you put into the SNAP program, you get out $1.71," Gillibrand said in a statement. "Under the current bill, families in New York will lose about $90 a month in their food stamps, which means in the third week of the month, many families’ children will go to school hungry. It also means less food on a kitchen table for children. I have very grave concerns about what that says about us, and what we’re going to do about it."
Specifically, Gillibrand, the only Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee to vote against the farm bill, wants to amend it so that it doesn't cut funding from the "Heat and Eat" program that allows states to provide extra food stamps to people who already have to include heating and utility costs in their rent each month.
The junior senator from New York announced her amendment in Manhattan on Monday, alongside celebrity chef Tom Colicchio.
Gillibrand's announcement comes as the Senate is gearing up to take on the farm bill, which ends direct payments to farmers based on historic production. That payment system allows farmers who don't grow crops any longer to receive money. The farm bill replaces the direct payment system with a crop insurance program that gives money to farmers whose income drops below 90 percent of the insured baseline. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) are the co-sponsors of the bill.
The Senate is likely to take up the farm bill immediately after it considers the Paycheck Fairness Act (S.3220), legislation creating federal grants to improve salary negotiating skills for women. The bill also aims to add protections to women filing gender-discrimination lawsuits. The Paycheck Act is likely to fail quickly, as Republicans have demonstrated strong opposition to it.