COLUMBUS — State Reps. Adam Miller (D-Columbus) and Latyna Humphrey (D-Columbus) today announced legislation that would ensure low-income families do not go hungry as federal programs could dry up due to a federal government shutdown looming on October 1, 2023.
“Already hit by rising food prices, Ohio’s hungry-those who rely on help just to feed their children- will be at risk of losing food aid should the government shutdown, again,” said Rep. Miller. “Ohio has to take the lead in feeding those who don’t know where they may find their next meal. We have a moral obligation to step up and ensure that no child goes hungry regardless of the federal government’s ability to provide timely appropriations.”
"As per the statistics disclosed by the White House, the shutdown of WIC alone will impact around 179,262 families. As state legislators, it is our responsibility to step in and provide support to our most vulnerable constituents where the federal government may fall short. Let's prioritize the protection of our constituents," said Rep. Humphrey.
The legislation would require Ohio to use its Budget Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund) to cover the federal portion of food aid for Ohioans if the federal government shuts down. Standard practice has been that the federal government would reimburse the state once appropriations return. At that point, the Rainy Day Fund would be made whole.
The three main food aid programs are: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program. More than 1.5 million Ohioans rely on these programs for basic food needs.
- SNAP increases the food purchasing power of eligible low-income households to help them buy a nutritionally adequate low-cost diet. SNAP recipients in Ohio as of June 2023 were 1,348,228 individuals in 701,150 households.
- TANF is a program that provides cash assistance and supportive services to assist families with children under age 18. More than 45,000 Ohioans rely on the TANF program. Almost all were children.
- WIC is a program that provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. More than 175,000 women and children rely on WIC in Ohio.
The Ohio Rainy Day Fund currently has more than $3.5 billion in surplus.