Charities testify on benefits of public-private partnerships to feed the hungry

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2015-Charity and nonprofit organizations dedicated to feeding the hungry testified Wednesday on how public-private partnerships can help their efforts during a House Agriculture Committeehearing.

Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said understanding how these organizations work with the government and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help in Congress’ effort to better target federal funding and reform SNAP. However, some Democrats on the committee insisted SNAP works the way it is, and anything that cuts the program further would hurt the nonprofits’ efforts.

Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said SNAP is a necessary supplement to the work of charitable organizations because “they do not have the funding, capacity or flexibility to fully replace SNAP, as some suggest.”

However, Conaway emphasized that “no one is talking about getting rid of SNAP.”

Conaway said he’s leading the committee on a two-year review of the food stamp program. “We want it to be better, and work for the taxpayer,” he said, noting that “SNAP benefits are designed to be supplemental, leaving households responsible for the remaining needs.”

SNAP, the largest part of the farm bill, cost about $74 billion in 2014 and served more than 46 million people each month. Before Congress passed the 2014 farm bill, the House attempted to separate SNAP from the rest of the bill’s titles, but the effort failed. Traditionally, the farm bill is structured with SNAP in order to gain support for all farm and food programs from both urban and rural representatives.

Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., commented on the possibility that this tactic may be tried again. “We cannot and will not separate the food stamp program from the farm bill. The food program is essential to the farm bill,” he said.

Read the full article on Agri-Pulse here.