This week, the House of Representatives will take up a bill that will cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program). These cuts are not only cruel, but also unjust. Write to your Representative today and oppose devastating cuts to SNAP.
OPW Director J. Herbert Nelson wrote to the House of Representatives last week to oppose this bill. He wrote, "We believe that 'reconciliation...through Jesus Christ makes it plain that enslaving poverty in a world of abundance is an intolerable violation of God’s good creation.' This bill is one such intolerable violation. I urge you to vote no on the bill."
Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its annual report on food security in our country. The conclusions of that report are sobering: despite improvements in the U.S. economy, the number of U.S. households considered food insecure -- lacking consistent access to adequate food throughout the year for all family members -- remains at high levels. According to the USDA, 14.5 percent of U.S. households were food insecure in 2012 and 5.7 percent of U.S. households fall into the most severe category of food insecurity.
Such high levels of hunger in our communities should call each of us to action and advocacy.
Write the House today! Or call 800-826-3688.
Yet, later this week the House will take up the "Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act" (no bill number available yet), a bill that would make dramatic cuts ($40 billion) in federal food assistance to low income families. For example:
- Across the country, 2 to 4 million adults without dependents would lose benefits. SNAP already has strict work requirements but this proposal would require individuals to find work at times when jobs are scarce.
- Nearly 2 million more people, primarily seniors and those in low-income working families, would lose benefits due to changes in eligibility rules.
- In 2011, private churches and charities provided approximately $4 billion in food assistance, compared to $98 billion provided by federal nutrition programs. Churches and charities would have to nearly double their current food assistance to make up the difference.
More than three-quarters of SNAP recipients are children, older adults, or persons with disabilities -- in short, the most vulnerable people in our communities. Some members of Congress argue that funding for the SNAP program is too high, and offer stories of fraud and abuse in the system. The truth is that SNAP is a program with a remarkably low rate of fraud and error -- less than four percent overall -- that is designed to grow as need grows in a poor economy and contract as need lessens in a good economy. At a time when unemployment is still high in many communities and workers struggle with underemployment and low wages many families need extra help. SNAP provides that critical assistance.
Your voice is needed now! Please call or email your member of Congress today and tell them to oppose the a $40 billion cut to SNAP.
Call 1-800-826-3688 and ask to speak with your Representative’s office. Don’t know who your Representative is? Click here to find out.