Since Secretary Vilsack invited me to join him at USDA as Under Secretary of Food and Nutrition Consumer Services (FNCS), not only have we helped to bring America back from the brink of a second economic depression, we have also worked to institutionalize more opportunities and pathways directed at helping states assist consumers and expand direct access to healthy and affordable food.
More than half a million of the poorest Americans will lose a critical tool to help keep food on the table this year. That's because a three-month limit on SNAP (food stamps) for jobless adults aged 18-49 who aren't disabled or raising minor children is returning in 23 states for the first time since the Great Recession.
When various Republican presidential candidates present their views on addressing poverty at a January 9 forum in South Carolina, some may seek to align themselves with House Speaker Paul Ryan's proposal to combine funding for numerous safety net programs into what would essentially be a mega-block grant to states. However, Paul Ryan's "Opportunity Grant" proposal carries substantial risk of increasing poverty, rather than reducing it.