House GOP Farm Bill Threatens Food Security for Children, Vulnerable Adults
Western Wisconsin among Hardest-Hit Regions in Proposed Food Assistance Cuts
(MADISON) – Analysis released today by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that thousands of children and vulnerable adults will lose their FoodShare benefits under the House GOP Farm Bill.
According to the analysis, 75,720 Wisconsin residents will lose FoodShare eligibility, including 23,369 children. Western Wisconsin children would be among the hardest hit from the proposal, with an estimated eight to 12 percent of children currently receiving food through FoodShare in Burnett, Dunn, St. Croix, Pierce, and Polk counties losing eligibility. Children accessing free and reduced lunch at school are also at risk of losing those benefits, as children eligible for FoodShare are categorically eligible for the school nutrition program.
“The House proposal fails struggling families and our children,” said State Senator Patty Schachtner (D – Somerset). “This bill removes support for the most basic of all needs: hunger. When people do not have access to nutritious food, it becomes much harder to overcome employment, housing, and health barriers.”
Republicans at the state and federal level have justified cuts to safety-net programs as a cost-saving necessity. However, recent policy decisions call this claim into question. The House GOP Farm Bill comes just months after passing the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which is estimated to cost $1.46 trillion. In Wisconsin, new restrictions on W-2 and FoodShare programs were passed following the $4.5 billion Foxconn deal, which remains the largest state subsidy to a foreign company in U.S. history.
“It seems we are willing to break out the checks for wealthy corporations, but are unwilling to adequately fund nutrition programs that feed hungry children, seniors, and families. We must prioritize families who have been increasingly ignored in Washington, D.C. and Madison. It is unacceptable to fund tax breaks and corporate handouts on the backs of our most vulnerable children.”
MEDIA NOTE: An interactive map of Wisconsin with county-based eligibility numbers is available here.