Washington, D.C. – Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-16) released the following statement after voting against the farm bill conference report, which includes $8.5 billion in cuts to the SNAP program. Congressman Engel is the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and served as a conferee on the Farm Bill Conference Committee.

“While the Farm Bill the House considered today is a marked improvement from the original House bill, which cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the $8.5 billion in cuts to the program were simply unacceptable,” said Rep. Engel. “The House Republican’s fixation on cutting aid to the most needy was mitigated, but not eliminated in today’s bill.

“This bill will disproportionately hit the needy in New York and in my district who rely on the SNAP program for adequate nutrition. This means less food on the table for the children, elderly and disabled. Unfortunately, this is business as usual in the House these days as the working poor and middle class bear the brunt of the House Republican’s misguided policies.

“While I have broad concerns about these unfair and disproportionate cuts to the SNAP program, I am encouraged by the modest reforms included in this conference agreement on international food aid programs. This is an important starting point for providing USAID additional flexibility and resources to more effectively combat food insecurities around the world.

“In the end though, the flaws in this bill far outweighed the benefits. I could not support a bill that removes nutrition assistance for those most in need. The devastating impact these cuts will have on our local food banks in my district is particularly vicious. We are a better nation than that. I will continue my work in Congress to restore much needed funding to SNAP, and to advocate for everyone who has been adversely impacted by the recession and needs a helping hand to get back on their feet.”