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Harmful Repercussions From Debt Ceiling Agreement

Earlier this week, both houses of Congress passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, a bill that will raise the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts, and President Biden has said that he will sign the bill as soon as possible. This bill is the result of weeks of negotiation to avoid the country defaulting on its existing debt, which would have been catastrophic for the economy. We are incredibly disappointed to see the expansion of the SNAP Time Limit in the final deal. The debt ceiling vote, and the threat of default, was used to negotiate unpopular spending cuts, policies that likely wouldn’t have had the votes to pass otherwise. Hard working Americans, especially those experiencing food insecurity, were caught in the crossfire and will now face the consequences of cuts to programs like SNAP. 

One of the major provisions in this agreement expands the SNAP Time Limit, a harsh restriction which has limited adults 18-49 without children to only 3 months of SNAP in a 3-year period unless they live in an area with high unemployment or:

  • can document that they participate in a work training program or work 20 hours per week
  • meet an exemption

Years of research shows us that these harsh work requirements don’t increase employment or earnings, but do take food off the table for individuals experiencing food insecurity. This bill will expand this failed policy to include individuals ages 50-54, putting more Americans at risk of losing vital food assistance at a time when food prices and inflation remain high.

We are grateful for the ways that this final agreement improves upon the original bill passed in the House of Representatives in April, as it now expands the list of individuals who will be exempt from the SNAP Time Limit to include Veterans, individuals experiencing homelessness, and young adults aging out of foster care. These individuals will not lose their SNAP if they are unable to document sufficient hours of work. 

Despite these positive changes, doubling down on a failed policy, and resolving the manufactured debt crisis on the backs of Americans experiencing food insecurity, is unacceptable. We will not stop fighting for a world in which all people have the food they need to live healthy lives. Keep an eye out for more information about the SNAP Time Limit, which we will share in the coming weeks!