Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

Connect

Congressman Al Lawson

Representing the 5th District of Florida

Florida Democratic Delegation Asks Gov. Scott How He Will Protect SNAP Benefits for Floridians

May 25, 2017
Press Release
President Trump’s budget proposes shifting cost of SNAP benefits to states

WASHINGTON - Today nine Florida Democrats sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott outlining their concern over President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to SNAP benefits in his budget that was released on Tuesday.

“Upon the release of President Trump’s budget, we are deeply concerned about the proposal to “re-balance the Federal/State partnership in SNAP benefits to low-income households,” the Representatives wrote. “This proposal will shift 25 percent of SNAP costs to the State of Florida by 2023. More than two-thirds of SNAP households include children, seniors, individuals with disabilities and low-wage workers. SNAP is essential to keeping poor and vulnerable Floridians from going hungry. At a time when Florida’s budget is already strained, this has the potential to drastically affect how our constituents are served, and we are requesting information on how your administration intends to respond.”

The Florida delegation who signed this letter includes U.S. Reps. Al Lawson (FL-5), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Darren Soto (FL-9), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), Val Demings (FL-10), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Alcee Hastings (FL-23), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23).

Currently, for each application, the U.S. Department of Agriculture pays the SNAP benefit itself, as well as half of the costs involved in administering the program. Trump’s budget proposes shifting to cost-sharing with the state, placing a new strain on an already tight Florida budget. This unprecedented change would force Gov. Scott and the Florida state legislature to choose between helping to feed hungry Floridians and funding other important priorities.

“As Members of Congress who represent Florida, we ask that you provide us, and Florida’s taxpayers, with information about how your administration will prepare for the heavy toll these proposals would take on Floridians who are already struggling to put food on their tables and the $9 billion threat it would pose to important priorities in Florida’s budget,” the members wrote the Governor.

Read the full letter here and the text is below.

 

May 25, 2017
The Honorable Rick Scott
Governor, State of Florida
400 S. Monroe St
Tallahassee, FL 32399

Dear Governor Scott,

Upon the release of President Trump’s budget, we are deeply concerned about the proposal to “re-balance the Federal/State partnership in SNAP benefits to low-income households.” This proposal will shift 25 percent of SNAP costs to the State of Florida by 2023. More than two-thirds of SNAP households include children, seniors, individuals with disabilities and low-wage workers. SNAP is essential to keeping poor and vulnerable Floridians from going hungry. At a time when Florida’s budget is already strained, this has the potential to drastically affect how our constituents are served, and we are requesting information on how your administration intends to respond.

Since the program’s inception over 40 years ago, our state has been a key partner in administering SNAP benefits for millions of hardworking Floridians including, children, families, elderly, and individuals with disabilities. Florida has incorporated SNAP into broader health and human service systems that have allowed the program to alleviate hunger in the most effective and efficient way possible. And while our state has been an administrative partner for decades, the federal government and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been responsible for all but a fraction of SNAP’s costs. This proposal by President Trump would pose a significant burden on the taxpayers of Florida that is estimated by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to cost upwards of $9 billion over the next decade. 

For each application, the USDA pays not only the SNAP benefit itself, but also half of the costs involved in administering the program. In other words, while our state has administered SNAP, we have not been responsible for increases in funding when the program responds to additional need. This proposed shift to cost-sharing goes against over four decades of programmatic history and will place a new strain on an already tight Florida budget. This unprecedented change would force you and the state legislature to choose between helping to feed hungry Floridians and funding other important priorities.

Additionally, as part of President Trump’s $193 billion in proposed SNAP cuts the president is seeking to eliminate the minimum monthly benefit. Currently a meager $16, the minimum benefit predominately helps seniors at the very edge of food insecurity. This cut will hit our state hardest of any in the nation. In total, this change would take over $18.6 million in annual benefits from the 139,000 Floridians who currently receive the minimum benefit.

As Members of Congress who represent Florida, we ask that you provide us, and Florida’s taxpayers, with information about how your administration will prepare for the heavy toll these proposals would take on Floridians who are already struggling to put food on their tables and the $9 billion threat it would pose to important priorities in Florida’s budget.

Respectfully,
Al Lawson
Val Demings
Charlie Crist
Ted Deutch
Lois Frankel
Alcee L. Hastings
Darren Soto
Frederica Wilson
Debbie Wasserman Schultz

 

 

 

Issues: