Levin Statement at Farm Bill Conference Committee Meeting

Oct 30, 2013

Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today made the following statement at the first Farm Bill conference committee meeting:

“I think this provides a rare bipartisan opportunity. The provisions within our domain on upland cotton and sugar program, we leave to your good judgment, as long as you maintain the necessary provisions that we’re obliged to under our international responsibilities. So if I might, I just want to take a minute to speak more personally. Our family owns some agricultural acreage. Just a little bit. There are some apple trees that are always filled with worms. We have a raspberry patch that went bad and picked a few asparagus that they call in this agricultural area, spear grass. So I'm not an expert, to put it mildly.

“I do want to say something, though, personally about SNAP. There are 48,000 people in our district who rely on nutrition assistance. When I have talked to teachers, and these are in suburban school districts, in many cases they have a drawer in their classroom filled with food because children come to school hungry. One of the larger food banks is in the district I represent and 17% of the population they serve face food insecurity and 70% of them do not utilize SNAP. So there is a severe nutrition challenge to millions of families in this country. As you all know, the average amount available under is $4.50 a day. That's the average. And with some other colleagues in the House, I took the challenge and lived on the $4.50 a day for a week. And I just urge that everybody put themselves in the shoes of these families. And I finish with this, I remember going to a pantry in a parish that I represent and talking to the families there, and these are families in need. Thank you for hearing me.”