We can’t food bank our way out of hunger, which is why Feeding Texas advocates for public policies that help low-income Texans access affordable and nutritious food.
Much of our nation’s policy response to hunger is decided at the federal level, by Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Although the next Congress will likely be divided on many issues, we can all agree that no American should go hungry. Fortunately, we will have two major opportunities to improve conditions for the families we serve in 2023:
1. The Farm Bill
Some of the largest hunger-fighting tools in the U.S., including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which provides commodities to food banks, are governed by the Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill is an omnibus bill passed by Congress every five years to set the rules for these programs as well as many others administered by USDA; for example, farm subsidies and conservation are two other sections (aka “titles”) of this massive bill.
Because of its size, the Farm Bill is an opportunity for many different organizations and constituencies to influence U.S. food system policy; it is a magnet for both good and bad ideas about Americans’ access to affordable and nutritious food.
The Farm Bill process is frequently used by critics of SNAP to propose new barriers to access, lower eligibility standards, and dictate what food participants can buy.
Feeding Texas will use every opportunity in 2023 to educate Texas Congress Members about the importance of SNAP to low-income families and advocate for greater investment in the program. Join us and send a letter to your Congress Member!
2. Tax Extenders
Congress’ biggest missed opportunity this year was the chance to resurrect the expanded Child Tax Credit, which put money directly into low income families’ pockets to buy groceries and pay for other basic needs. This pandemic-era program dramatically reduced child poverty and hunger – food was one of the top uses for these funds.
Despite widespread, bipartisan support for making some version of this program permanent, Congress could not reach a deal this year. Next year, Congress will revisit the debate alongside the possible extension of tax cuts for big businesses.
2.2 million Texas children could benefit from an expanded Child Tax Credit. Congress should not pass any more tax cuts for businesses without permanently expanding this lifeline for vulnerable families. Help us deliver this message to our lawmakers!
2023 will be a big year for fighting hunger. But with advocates like you by our side we can win. Join us in the fight!