Reviving failed Republican farm bill is bad for Latino families

Reviving failed Republican farm bill is bad for Latino families
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Last month, the partisan Republican proposal to reauthorize the farm bill failed to pass the House, by a 198-213 vote. The proposal was the latest Republican attempt to cut benefit programs to pay for the $1.5 trillion tax cut that filled into the pockets of corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent.

The Republican farm bill would have led to millions of hard-working Americans and their families going hungry because of harsh and punitive changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Republican attempts to gut the program could be on the table once again.

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The party that prides itself on its strong foundation of family values targeted the country's most important anti-hunger program that helps families feed their children. 42 million Americans, including 10 million low-income Latinos, use SNAP to put food on the table.

 

The House Republican farm bill would have gutted funding for the program by more than $17 billion and put in place additional and unnecessary work requirements that would only make it harder for participation, eligibility, and for families to make ends meet. 

It would especially be punishing to the Latino population because of increased red tape, negatively impacting the most vulnerable of our community.

Latinos have the highest labor force participation rate of any racial or ethnic group, but they are overrepresented in low-wage jobs, often have unpredictable hours or wages, lack employer-sponsored benefits, and are engaged in seasonal or part-time work. They rely on SNAP to feed their families.

SNAP serves millions of Latino families every year, in fact, Latinos are more likely to face food insecurity compared to other U.S. households and represent more than one-fifth of all SNAP participants.

The aggressive broadening of work requirements would only increase hunger and poverty among the Latino population. Many families in the Latino community are eligible for SNAP but are not enrolled and the additional barriers to access SNAP included in the House farm bill do nothing but threaten to further depress participation rates, taking food from Latino families and their children.

Although the House farm bill failed miserably last month, the fight is not over. House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanCorey Stewart fires aide who helped bring far-right ideas to campaign: report GOP super PAC hits Randy Bryce with ad starring his brother Super PACs spend big in high-stakes midterms MORE may still call for a vote on the exact same farm bill as early as next week. We need to continue to raise our voices and demand a farm bill that helps ensure our children do not go hungry. 

Our community and our country deserve a bill that would promote healthy and safe communities, not one that would leave millions of families and children food insecure and hungry.

Albert Jacquez is the executive director of UnidosUS Action Fund.