Hoyer, Pocan, DeLauro, McGovern Send Letter to CBO Requesting Economic Analysis of Impact of Republican Bill to Drastically Cut Nutrition Assistance

For Immediate Release:

September 17, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC— House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), along with Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), sent the following letter to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Douglas Elmendorf requesting an analysis of the economic impact of House Republicans’ legislation that cuts nearly $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and denies vital food support for four to six million low-income Americans. The letter asked that the CBO include the impact of these cuts on economic growth and jobs in any analysis of the bill. 

The letter states: “The Congressional Budget Office has released several economic analyses since the start of the economic downturn that have pointed out the relatively high multiplier effects of the SNAP program as a countercyclical economic stabilizer.  The necessary corollary is that reductions in SNAP benefits could have a greater impact in setting back our recovery than other policies that achieve equivalent levels of deficit reduction.  Given these potential consequences, we want to be sure that the full economic impact of the proposed cuts is taken into account when the bill is debated. Consequently, we ask that you include in any CBO analysis of this legislation an estimate of the changes in economic output and employment that can be expected to result from these SNAP cuts.” 

Full text of the letter is below:

September 16, 2013

The Honorable Douglas Elmendorf
Congressional Budget Office
Ford House Office Building, 4th Floor
Second and D Streets, SW
Washington, DC 20515-6925

Dear Director Elmendorf,

The House Majority is introducing a bill intended to serve as a substitute for the missing nutrition title of H.R. 2642, the Federal Agricultural Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (FARRM.). Media  reports state that the bill will include $40 billion worth of cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Assuming that this is the case, we have a number of concerns we would like you to address when analyzing the legislation.

The Congressional Budget Office has released several economic analyses since the start of the economic downturn that have pointed out the relatively high multiplier effects of the SNAP program as a countercyclical economic stabilizer.  The necessary corollary is that reductions in SNAP benefits could have a greater impact in setting back our recovery than other policies that achieve equivalent levels of deficit reduction.  Given these potential consequences, we want to be sure that the full economic impact of the proposed cuts is taken into account when the bill is debated. Consequently, we ask that you include in any CBO analysis of this legislation an estimate of the changes in economic output and employment that can be expected to result from these SNAP cuts. 

In addition, we ask that you include in your analysis estimates of the impact of these cuts on beneficiaries, i.e. the extent to which individuals and families will see their benefits reduced and how many individuals would lose their benefits altogether.

Having CBO-verified information on this subject would help Congress to fully understand the impact of this bill. Thank you for your attention to this request. 

Sincerely

                                  
Mark Pocan                                                             Steny Hoyer
Member of Congress                                                 Member of Congress

                                 
Rosa DeLauro                                                          James P. McGovern
Member of Congress                                                Member of Congress

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