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FRAC WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST

Issue #43, October 23, 2017

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For many older Americans, the rat race is over. But the inequality isn’t. – The Washington Post, October 18, 2017
A report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that senior inequality in the U.S. is among the most extreme of member countries; Chile and Mexico alone have higher elderly inequality rates. “The big problem in the U.S. is that half of the working population in the private sector has no retirement plan available at work – and people do not save on their own,” said Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Economic Inequality

School food programs keep growing – Tulsa Beacon, October 12, 2017
Summer Food Service Program participation in Oklahoma increased 14 percent this year, with 1.6 million free meals distributed to children between May and August, reports the state Department of Education. The number of summer food sites also grew by five percent to 677 sites statewide. A summer meal awareness campaign included postcards, posters, door hangers, metro-area bus benches, and radio public service announcement in English and Spanish.
   

Summer Food Service Program

State WIC programs go electronic in November – Payson Roundup, October 3, 2017
WIC Program participants in Gila, Arizona will be able to purchase food using EBT cards beginning in November. Currently, the program uses paper vouchers that allow participants – pregnant women and new mothers – to buy certain food at grocery stores, which can be cumbersome and requires customers to pay for these eligible items separately. WIC EBT cards will make it easier for participants to pay for eligible items, and a smartphone app will allow them to scan barcodes to determine a food’s eligibility.
   

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

SNAP households slated to receive assistance – Vallejo Times Herald, October 19, 2017
USDA announced that SNAP households in specific California zip codes affected by wildfires will receive replacement benefits of 60 percent of the October SNAP benefit, and SNAP households in specific counties affected by the fires can use SNAP to purchase hot foods at SNAP-authorized retailers through November 15.
   

Disaster Food Assistance

Federal budget cuts will hurt children, official warns – Elmira Star-Gazette, October 18, 2017
Ron Deutsch, executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute in Albany, New York, recently urged a group of human service professionals in Elmira, New York, to contact their U.S. representative and lobby against proposed federal spending cuts to SNAP and other vital programs. Across the 23rd Congressional District there are 40,000 households receiving SNAP, noted Deutsch, and 36,000 households making less than $15,000 a year. Congress is looking to cut “programs for people who need them the most to provide tax breaks for people who need them the least,” said Deutsch.
   

West Virginia poverty levels largely unchanged, study finds – Exponent Telegram, October 16, 2017
West Virginia’s 2016 poverty rate was 17.9 percent, no change from 2015 or 2007, while the national poverty rate decreased to 14 percent in 2016, down from 14.7 percent in 2015 and 15.9 percent in 2012. “Budget proposals pending in Congress and backed by congressional leadership, as well as the White House, would cut billions of dollars” from SNAP and other programs that have lifted many West Virginians out of poverty, said Deborah Weinstein, executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs.
   

Support working families, not tax cuts for rich – CentralMaine.com, October 17, 2017
House and Senate budget proposals would make huge cuts to SNAP and other safety-net programs helping working families, children, seniors and people with disabilities, writes Alison Hall in this letter to the editor. She calls on Maine’s Congressional Representatives to support programs that help the working poor, “not tax cuts that enrich the richest.” Last year, SNAP lifted 3.6 million Americans out of poverty, and the earned income and child tax credits lifted 8.2 million out of poverty.
   

Consider moral choices with tax reform – Dispatch.com, October 17, 2017
The tax cuts that Congress is currently considering “would ultimately starve our government of the resources it needs to meet its most fundamental obligations, including caring for the sick and aiding the poor,” writes Rev. Tim Ahrens, senior minister at the First Congregation Church in Columbus, Ohio, in this op-ed. Plans on Capitol Hill also include cuts to SNAP and Medicaid. “We need a budget and tax plan that reflects … the shared values of taking care of our communal needs and giving a hand up to those in need,” Ahrens concludes.
   

Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Proposed federal budget could cut funding for school lunch programs – West Virginia Gazette Mail, October 14, 2017
According to FRAC, a House budget committee report suggests raising the threshold of students for a school’s participation in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which would mean fewer schools would be able to provide free school meals to all students. In West Virginia, that could mean between 337 and 438 public schools would no longer be eligible for CEP participation. “Community Eligibility helps improve [meal] participation within schools, because it makes the playing field level,” said Crystal FitzSimons of FRAC. “It’s available to every child. There’s no stigma attached to participating in the program.”
   

Community Eligibility

Senate Budget Will Harm Essential Programs - FRAC, October 20, 2017
The budget resolution passed by the Senate paves the way for massive tax cuts for the wealthy that will increase inequality and build pressure for years to come to cut the safety net and undermine investments in America’s future. To pay for these tax cuts, the Senate budget resolution assumes a reduction of trillions of dollars for critical programs over the next 10 years, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), low-income tax credits, Medicaid, and programs that assist persons with disabilities. These programs are essential in helping the many people in our country — of all ages, races, ethnicities and life circumstances — who are struggling to make ends meet.