For this week's Let's Talk New Mexico, we reached out to New Mexico's congressional delegation for their thoughts on the 2018 Farm Bill and SNAP funding. Here's what they sent us via email:
“We need a bipartisan Farm Bill that feeds our kids and families, supports our farmers and ranchers, and creates economic opportunities in New Mexico. Unfortunately, this partisan bill needlessly makes it more likely that kids go to bed hungry. We should do better.”
“ … I want to vote for a Farm Bill that unites Democrats and Republicans, supports both urban and rural communities, benefits farmers, ranchers and vulnerable Americans across the country, and lastly, honors the productive, bi-partisan work of our committee that seems to be so rare in Washington, D.C.
This is not that bill, and I cannot vote for a bill that will jeopardize life-saving benefits to countless New Mexicans struggling to make ends meet.
Developing unnecessary, bureaucratic roadblocks in secret that will increase hunger and kick New Mexicans off SNAP is a disgrace to what should be the most bi-partisan committee in Congress.
Mr. Chairman, my state is one of the hungriest states in the country. Roughly 461,000 New Mexicans (25 percent of the population) are on SNAP; 1 in 4 N.M. children do not know where their next meal is coming from; and Last year, SNAP helped keep 76,000 New Mexicans, including 36,000 children, out of poverty.
If this bill’s provisions to limit SNAP eligibility and impose strict requirements on beneficiaries were signed into law, more children would go hungry, and more families would slip back into poverty.
Further, this bill imposes an underfunded mandate on state bureaucracies to oversee the implementation of the bill’s new requirements, which would further destabilize an already disjointed SNAP system in New Mexico.”
Her full statement can be found here.
“The federal government should be helping people get back up on their feet. In general, I support work requirements for federal benefits because we are incentivizing people to earn success rather than take advantage of the government. As the Farm Bill moves forward, it must ensure that SNAP benefits are going to the people who need them most.”
“New Mexico has the third-highest proportion of SNAP recipients per capita. Imposing new eligibility requirements for SNAP would create barriers that restrict access to affordable food for New Mexico families and pull the rug out from individuals who are already struggling in today’s economy. We should be working to find solutions that help level the playing field for hard-working families. That’s why I’ve advocated for a two-generation approach to coordinate programs across our state's human services, workforce development, education and health care agencies, so they can work more effectively to put parents and children on the path to success together.”
Sen. Tom Udall (D)
"SNAP is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger, and we should not be setting up barriers for those in need to access the program. In New Mexico, one in five residents rely on food assistance, and more than 48 percent are in working families. New Mexico has the nation’s largest percentage of young children receiving food stamps, with nearly half of children age 4 and under participating. It is simply wrong to make it harder for New Mexicans to get the food assistance that they need.
Safety net programs are critical for states like New Mexico with persistently high rates of joblessness and childhood poverty. Adding work requirements to a critical food program like SNAP is unlikely to promote employment and is likely to lead to worse health outcomes for New Mexico families. I will continue working to ensure adequate access to bedrock safety net programs like SNAP and Medicaid.”