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Representatives Bowen and Brostoff introduce ‘Heat and Eat Bill’

June 11, 2015
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Representatives Jonathan Brostoff and David Bowen of Milwaukee held a press conference, along with the Hunger Task Force at the Clinton Rose Center on Thursday, June 4, 2015 to discuss their support for new legislation to restore Wisconsin’s Heat and Eat program and to reverse the damaging cuts to FoodShare benefits that Congress enacted in the 2014 Farm Bill. Representatives Jonathan Brostoff and David Bowen are pictured with Sherrie Tussler of the Hunger Task Force, Antwan Carter, and George Hinton of the Social Development Commission.

At a joint press event with the Hunger Task Force of Wisconsin, Representatives David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) and Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee) announced June 4, 2015 that they were introducing a bill to restore Wisconsin’s heat and eat program and reverse the FoodShare cuts imposed on Wisconsin families by the 2014 Farm Bill. “The families that rely on FoodShare to get by are the ones being left behind by this economy,” said Rep. Bowen. “A family living in poverty can’t afford a $100 cut in their grocery budget. Restoring the Heat and Eat program would help get struggling families back on their feet,” he said. Heat and Eat is a state program that allows households receiving energy assistance through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to qualify for additional FoodShare benefits. Wisconsin previously provided all families that did not otherwise qualify for LIHEAP a benefit of $1, so that they could qualify for higher FoodShare benefits, but Congress increased the minimum qualifying LIHEAP benefit to $20, cutting FoodShare benefits for more than 250,000 families across Wisconsin. The bill offered by Reps. Bowen and Brostoff would increase the LIHEAP benefit to $21, restoring these families’ FoodShare benefits to their previous levels. Because the bill only reallocates federal money the state already receives, it would not require any additional state spending. Reallocating $5.4 million in LIHEAP money would bring an additional $276 million in FoodShare benefits from the federal government. “The Heat & Eat cuts unfairly target seniors and people with disabilities living in subsidized housing,” Sherrie Tussler, Executive Director of Hunger Task Force said. “These vulnerable populations need community support to restore their FoodShare benefits. Hunger Task Force calls on the state legislature to help the frail and elderly.”