Ms. DUCKWORTH. Madam Speaker, the cuts we are considering to SNAP--$20.5 billion--will be devastating for many American families. There is little room to cut this vital program. The average benefit is only $4.50 a day, just $1.50 a meal. These cuts will slash benefits to 2 million Americans and cut more than 200,000 children off the school lunch and school breakfast program.
This is a very personal issue for me. I was one of those children. After my father lost his job for several years when I was a teenager, food stamps, school breakfast, and school lunch were the only things that saved me. They were there for me so I could worry about school instead of my empty stomach. They nourished me so I could develop the skills to serve my country for the next 20 years--all of the way here to Congress.
I believe that in the wealthiest Nation in the world, no American child should go to school hungry, and no parent should have to make the difficult decision between paying rent or paying for groceries.
Charities, like the Church of the Holy Sprit food pantry in Schaumburg, are already stretched to the limit, trying to meet the needs of our communities during these tough economic times. This means that hungry Americans will have nowhere else to turn.
I ask my colleagues to reject these draconian cuts.