WASHINGTON, D.C. - In honor of the 40th anniversary of the Food Stamp Act of 1977, Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), co-chairs of the bipartisan House Hunger Caucus, released the following statement calling on their fellow members of Congress to renew the bipartisan commitment to strengthen the country's anti-hunger safety net and end hunger once and for all :
"This Friday marks the 40th anniversary of the Food Stamp Act of 1977, bipartisan legislation that expanded the reach of the food stamp program and made it more effective and efficient.
"Severe hunger and malnutrition plagued our country in the 1960s. Senator George McGovern, a Democrat from South Dakota, and Senator Bob Dole, a Republican from Kansas, recognized the need to address this crisis, and for over a decade led the bipartisan Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs.
"Out of this work came the Food Stamp Act of 1977, which established national standards of eligibility for the program and eliminated the requirement that recipients pay for their stamps. It was revolutionary, and helped to dramatically reduce extreme poverty and severe hunger in the United States.
"During the past 40 years, Congress has worked to further strengthen the program. We’ve modernized benefit processing, improved access to fresh produce, and updated benefit calculations to help military families and those with young children. And in 2008, we renamed the program SNAP – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
"The modern SNAP program provides millions of children, seniors, and other working adults with food assistance each year. It improves health, educational, and economic outcomes for its recipients. When families are able to put food on the table and provide for their children, they are able to lift themselves out of poverty and off of government assistance.
"Just as Senators Dole and McGovern came together to fight hunger and poverty in the 1960s and 70s, we must renew this bipartisan commitment to strengthening our anti-hunger safety net and ending hunger once and for all.
"Please join us as we honor the incredible work of Senators Dole and McGovern and celebrate the impact this bipartisan legislation has had on reducing hunger in the United States."