Monday, August 12, 2013

House Proposes Devastating Cuts to SNAP, Nutrition programs

On August 1st, despite your protests to keep Nutrition in the Farm Bill and to protect SNAP from cuts, and after failing to pass a bill that cut $20 billion from SNAP, the House of Representatives doubled the malice by introducing a SNAP bill with $40 billion in cuts to the most effective anti-hunger program at the federal level (SNAP = Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program). With these $40 billion in cuts, the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness strongly opposed this legislation.  This will leave many people hungry, with nowhere left to turn but to already overstressed food pantries and soup kitchens. This legislation is expected to come up for a vote in early September when the House returns to Washington from its August recess.  Join us in resolutely opposing these cuts to nutrition programs.

According to Bread for the World, “the previous proposal of cutting $20 billion from SNAP is equivalent to eliminating half of all the charitable food distribution by churches and food banks over a 10-year period. The legislation that is currently under discussion would double that, substantially increasing the suffering of 47 million Americans who depend on SNAP to keep hunger at bay.” The earlier proposed $20 billion SNAP cut would drop at least 2 million people from the program, reduce benefits for more than800,000 families, and leave 210,000 children without access to free schoolmeals. Cuts to food aid programs not only cost lives and health but they also hinder our collective and common strength to reach millions of people in need. These cuts must not pass the House of Representatives.

As the Farm Bill continues through the conference committee process, where Senate and House members will come together to hammer out a compromise bill, it is extremely important that they continue to hear from you, their constituents, urging them to support a better Farm Bill.  As Presbyterians, we support amendments that will increase access to healthy food for all people, focus on proper stewardship of the environment, build up and support rural communities, and limit crop subsidies to agribusiness.

Click here to send a message to your your Representative and ask him/her to support a faithful Farm Bill

 Keep Advocating!

Thanks for your continuing advocacy for a better Farm Bill, and to prevent cuts to SNAP.  As this bill advances, it will probably go to a conference committee with the Senate, where disagreements, in theory, will be reconciled.  The House and Senate differences over SNAP funding will be a key part of the discussion.  The conference committee will then report out the compromise bill and send it back to both House and Senate for another vote. The future of the Farm Bill in the House of Representatives is unclear. However, what is clear is that we must continue to push for a Farm Bill ensures access to food for hungry people, provides an ample safety net targeted to those small and mid-sized farmers who most need it, builds up rural communities and their economies, and protects the integrity of God’s creation through robust conservation programs and sustainable agriculture. 

For more information on the Farm Bill and PC(USA) advocacy, please visit our Farm Bill blog posts.