Baca denounces President's budget for cuts to nutrition programs
Washington - Rep. Joe Baca (D-Rialto), ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Subcommittee on Departmental Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry, denounced President Bush's budget today for its proposed cuts to nutrition programs that will affect millions of Americans.
"The president's budget will endanger the health of millions of Americans. The president proposes a $1 billion cut to food stamps, the nation's number one investment in nutrition and defense against hunger.
"The President speaks about conservative compassion, but where is the compassion in this budget? He speaks about values, but what about the values of taking care of those in need, the poor and the disadvantage?.
"Nationwide, nearly 300,000 people in 41 states -- primarily working families with children -- will lose their nutrition assistance.
"Families will be forced to make hard choices between buying groceries or paying their bills.
"Children will go to school without a balanced breakfast. How can we expect children to learn when their stomachs are empty?
"My home state of California is ranked last of all 50 states in enrolling eligible people for food stamps, according to the USDA. In San Bernardino 263,412 people are eligible for food stamps, yet only 139,104 people have been enrolled. This proposal goes in the wrong direction, making it even harder to enroll Californians in this critical program for nutrition.
"Food stamp benefits are 100% federally funded and they benefit states in several important ways. For example, in California, our state is benefited in three ways: First, 1.7 million Californians, half of them children, receive an average of $88 a month in grocery help. Second, every dollar in food stamp spending generates $1.85 for local grocery stores, farmers, and the food economy, according to USDA. Third, every dollar in food stamps frees up consumers to spend 45 cents on taxable goods, generating sales tax revenue for our local and state governments.
"There are three other proposed nutrition cuts that impact California: 45,000 seniors and young children would be dropped from the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) due to a $3 million cut.
"The Women Infants and Children program, and all other discretionary program, would be subject to caps that could cut nutrition services to low-income moms, babies, and young children for years beyond fiscal year 2006.
"Hunger education and advocacy in all 50 states would be eliminated with the termination of the Community Food & Nutrition Program (CFNP). The primary recipient of these funds in California is the statewide California-Nevada Community Action Partnership."