Congressman Panetta on Recent Proposal by Administration to Cut CalFresh Food Benefits

October 7, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) released the following statement after the Administration put forward another proposal to cut CalFresh benefits.

Current law requires the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to recognize the utility expenses of each SNAP applicant household and adjust the benefits issued based on the Standard Utility Allowance (SUA) calculated by the State and approved in the State plan.  The existing policy allows variances in SUAs to accommodate for differences in utility costs and rates and allows the states flexibility in how they calculate those costs. 

The proposed changes by this administration would standardize those calculations across the country and set the SUA to an amount lower than what would be needed to meet the costs of utilities for many Californians.  Such a rule would eliminate the flexibility of each state to administer the SUA, which is used to determine a household’s eligibility for SNAP.  The proposed change is estimated to result in cuts to nationwide food assistance by $4.5 billion over a five-year period. 

"Low income Californians rely on CalFresh," said Congressman Panetta.  "By taking away our state’s ability to take into account local utility benefits to determine SNAP benefits, the administration is forcing families to choose between putting food on their table and keeping the heat on in their homes.  Once again, I encourage everybody to speak out and participate in the public comment period for the proposed rules by this administration."

The public can submit a comment about this proposal through December 2, 2019 by clicking on this link or visiting