Montana Food Bank Network Statement
on House Rejection of the 2018 Farm Bill
Gayle Carlson, CEO of Montana Food Bank Network
“Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected the 2018 Farm Bill by a vote of 198-213, with Congressman Gianforte voting in favor of the bill. This failed vote makes it clear that it is time for the House to abandon their deeply flawed and partisan approach and work towards a Farm Bill that protects and strengthens our most important anti-hunger program, SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Despite this important first step in the Farm Bill process, the fight to protect SNAP is not over. Congress has a lot of work yet to do to pass a Farm Bill, and the House has indicated that they may re-vote on their harmful bill next month.
As Montana’s statewide food bank, we understand the prevalence of food insecurity in our state and the challenges that Montana households face in trying to make ends meet. Our network of more than 140 local agencies works hard to meet the immediate need for food assistance and makes an enormous difference to families across Montana. And yet, for every one meal provided by our nationwide network of food banks, SNAP provides twelve. Our work to reduce hunger in Montana relies on strong federal nutrition programs and in particular, SNAP. SNAP reduces food insecurity for 120,000 Montanans, including one in five children and one in twelve workers. The House Farm Bill turned its back on these vulnerable Montanans, making harsh and indiscriminate cuts to SNAP that would have resulted in a loss of benefits for two million individuals nationwide.
The House Farm Bill broke with a long history of bipartisan commitment to improve SNAP and ensure struggling families have enough to eat. As a result, they were unable to move their bill forward, increasing uncertainty for Montana’s agricultural community. Montana deserves a Farm Bill that provides stability for our farmers and ranchers, as well as our families and individuals who fall on hard times.
The Farm Bill is our best opportunity to build a strong food system that contributes to the health, stability, and well-being of all Montanans. As the bill process continues, we call on Senator Daines, Senator Tester, and Congressman Gianforte to commit to a bipartisan Farm Bill that strengthens and protects SNAP.”