Montana Food Bank Network Statement on Passage of House Farm Bill
Gayle Carlson, CEO, Montana Food Bank Network
“On Thursday, June 21st the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill by a vote of 213 to 211, with Congressman Gianforte voting in favor of the bill. The Montana Food Bank Network is deeply disappointed that Rep. Gianforte’s continued his support for this harsh and partisan Farm Bill, which would cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by nearly $19 billion and take away food assistance from 2 million struggling Americans, including children, seniors, and veterans in our state.
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 is ignoring what millions of people across the country know to be true, that protecting and strengthening SNAP — not cutting it — is the right way forward. That’s why Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have drafted a better approach: a bipartisan Farm Bill that does not take away food assistance from eligible households and makes smart investments to improve SNAP. In the end, the House and Senate will need to agree on one version of the Farm Bill, which gives Rep. Gianforte a second chance to stand up for Montana by encouraging House leadership to adopt the Senate’s SNAP provisions.
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. We urge Sens. Daines and Tester to do better for Montana by supporting the bipartisan Senate farm bill and rejecting any harmful amendments that would incorporate provisions from the House bill or make other changes that would take away food assistance from people who are struggling.”