In a May 6 letter, Rhonda Jackson wrote that 774,000 Louisianans struggled with hunger before the pandemic. It has not gotten better.
COVID-19 is quickly adding hunger to its list of health risks. With more than 40 million Americans unemployed while food prices are rising, people are being forced to choose between rent and groceries.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) is our nation's first line of defense against hunger. And it is built for crises just like this. Back in 2008, SNAP not only reduced food insecurity in the middle of a recession, it also helped the economy recover (every $1 in new SNAP spending creates $1.50-1.80 in economic activity). It is can do so again.
There appears to be some bipartisan support in Congress to increase SNAP benefits during this crisis. But the White House is stalling. I urge our members of Congress to resume COVID-19 relief negotiations now and quickly pass legislation that increases the maximum SNAP benefit by 15%.