Congress passed the Budget Control Act on Aug. 2. This legislation has the potential to severely alter the budget and structure of federal nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and WIC.

This bill is designed to reduce the deficit in two stages:

Stage one: The first round of budget cuts, which will be effective as early as Oct. 1, will include more than $600 billion in cuts from non-defense discretionary spending. Effected programs may include WIC, CSFP, TEFAP and CACFP. SNAP funding is protected from cuts in this stage.

Stage two: The newly assembled “Super Congress,” which consists of three Democrats and three Republicans from each chamber, is charged with crafting deficit reduction legislation that achieves at least $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years. During this stage all nutrition programs, including SNAP, TEFAP and CSFP, will be on the table for funding cuts.

It is crucial that nutrition programs remain a central issue in the deficit reduction negotiations. In order to protect these programs, we must ensure that Congress understands the vital role that each plays in the well-being of so many Americans. At a time when one in six people—including one in four childrenare hungry in America, it is vital that nutrition programs are protected. We agree that balancing the budget is important, but we should do this by cutting programs and policies that aren’t efficient or essential, not those for which there is tremendous need and which have proven highly effective in time of increased demand.

For more information on the Budget Control Act and for an opportunity to take action, visit the Advocacy Center today!