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Congressman Al Lawson

Representing the 5th District of Florida

​Florida Congressional Democrats Ask Governor to Oppose Efforts to Cut SNAP Benefits

April 27, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, 10 Congressional Democrats in the Florida delegation sent a letter to Florida Governor Rick Scott to implore him to oppose two bills before the Florida legislature that would eliminate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for an estimated 220,000 Floridians.

U.S. Reps. Al Lawson, Kathy Castor, Charlie Christ, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Frederica Wilson joined together to send the letter to the Governor, writing:

“It has come to our attention that the Florida House and Senate have started debating two bills that would eliminate broad-based categorical eligibility. This effort would eliminate SNAP benefits for more than 220,000 citizens and undo significant progress that the state has made in incentivizing work and streamlining eligibility of federal programs.

“As representatives for millions of Floridians, we cannot afford to backtrack on a key tenant of the safety net: incentivizing work… This is not a pragmatic, cost-effective, or empathetic proposal and it goes against the values of our constituents. Instead of putting Florida first, this proposal puts vulnerable, working Floridians last. It would make our state hungrier, poorer, and less secure, and we strongly urge you to oppose it. We need to come together to do more to help those in our communities who need it most.”

As of February 2017, some 3.2 million Floridians are currently getting SNAP benefits; 60 percent are in families with children, and one out of three are in families with members who are elderly or have disabilities. Broad-based categorical eligibility ensures that an estimated nine out of every 10 dollars in SNAP benefits provide much-needed supplemental nutrition to these individuals.

Without categorical eligibility, SNAP recipients will face what is called a ‘benefit cliff’—where vulnerable Floridians will lose benefits as soon as their income reaches 130 percent of the federal poverty level.

Read the full letter here.