aleigh – Republicans are continuing to target working families and rural North Carolina, now with deep cuts that will worsen hunger and poverty in our state and unduly hurt rural communities.
After launching a disastrous trade war that will decimate our rural communities, national Republicans are proposing to cut more than $20 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps.
Three-quarters of counties with the highest rates of food insecurity are in rural areas. SNAP boosts farmers by creating more demand for their products. And using the farm bill to make partisan attacks on SNAP could derail efforts to pass a new farm bill before the existing one expires later this year.
The damage will fall on the most vulnerable among us:
- One in seven North Carolina residents (1,365,000 people) turned to SNAP last year when they hit hard times or were struggling with low wages – and more than two-thirds are parents or in households with children.
- SNAP is one of the most important anti-poverty programs in NC. Between 2009 and 2012, the program kept 338,000 North Carolinians out of poverty every year, including 150,000 children.
- From 2014-2016, 56,000 North Carolina veterans relied on SNAP to make ends meet and to make sure they can afford healthy food and survive food shocks.
- Families who rely on SNAP shop in local grocery stores and local retailers, driving tens of billions of dollars in economy activity each year. More than 9,700 NC retailers could take a hit if families have a harder time accessing SNAP.
- SNAP supports and encourages work, by making sure that North Carolinians can cover their families’ medical and food bills while they search for employment or higher-paying jobs. Studies have shown that cuts to SNAP make it harder for these families to find good-paying jobs – and many become even poorer.
Already, farmers are facing a trade war that would be a “stomach punch”. As former Congressman Bob Etheridge said this week, “Farmers today are scared to death. They’re frightened. Because they depend on predictability from their government.” This comes after North Carolina Republicans raided a fund that would finance building new gas taps, allowing rural communities to more easily access natural gas and keeping production costs low for farmers.
“Republicans in DC and Raleigh continue to push policies that rig our economy against the most vulnerable people among us, including those in our rural areas,” NCDP Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds said. “Cuts to SNAP and attacks on rural economies are a disaster for farmers and working families. Democrats are standing up to these backwards policies and fighting for our rural communities.”