by Colleen Flaherty
Today, the House voted on and passed the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013 (HR 3102). The legislation would cut nearly $40 billion in the next decade from federal food stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The cuts come at a time when 21 million children rely on SNAP for food, and more than one in five children currently live in poverty.
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“The U.S. House of Representatives today made harmful cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),” said NEA President and Arizona teacher Dennis Van Roekel. “Unfortunately, children will feel the brunt of the deep cuts for years to come.”
The bill passed 217-210, with 15 Republicans crossing party lines to stand up for impoverished children.
Millions of Americans who would go hungry without this program, nearly half of whom are children. It would also undermine the enrollment of low-income children in school meal programs, and 210,000 children would lose access to nutritious meals at school.
Access to proper nutrition is key for a student’s performance, according to the Nutrition Cognition Initiative at Tufts University. Continuous low nutritional intake affects factors such as motivation and attentiveness, which can have a negative impact on learning. In addition, undernourished children are typically fatigued and uninterested in their social environments.
“It is wrong to score political points on the backs of children and the most vulnerable,” said Van Roekel.