Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH) Executive Director Joel Berg joined community members and activists at Hour Children Food Pantry today, in Long Island City, to urge Congress against passing the House Republican proposal to cut $40 billion over 10 years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) program, which provides food stamps to millions of hardworking families.
"Over the next ten years, the House proposal cuts almost $40 billion from SNAP, a vital safety net that keeps millions of Americans out of poverty. These cuts are part of the GOP's continued affront on millions of low-income families, many of them headed by single women. We cannot solely rely on organizations, like Hour Children, which does fabulous work but is underfunded, to provide the extra assistance that millions of Americans rely on. House Republicans should not trim the deficit on the backs of the neediest Americans," said Congresswoman Maloney.
Congresswoman Maloney, Assemblywoman Simotas, Council Member Van Bramer and NYCCAH Executive Director Berg visited Hour Children during the time its food pantry provides groceries to needy families. They met with the organization's leaders, and many of the families and individuals who rely on the organization for a little extra help. If Congress cuts $40 billion over 10 years from the SNAP program, which provides food stamps, the need for the services that organizations like Hour Children provide will only increase. And it is unlikely that underfunded organizations like Hour Children will be able to meet the increased needs of the families in their communities.
According to the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, these cuts would remove at least 4 million Americans from the SNAP program. And 47 percent of SNAP recipients are children and nearly two-thirds of benefits go to women. The House Bill would also cut 280,000 children from school meal programs, at a time when many teachers view hunger as a significant barrier to learning in the classroom. Millions of hardworking Americans who have full-time jobs, but are stuck in a cycle of poverty because of how low the federal minimum wage is, also rely on SNAP benefits.
On November 1, the Recovery Act will already mandate a $25-40 monthly cut to many SNAP recipients. Many SNAP recipients currently rely on benefits that come to roughly $1.50 per meal. If the cuts pass, these needy Americans will be further squeezed to roughly $1.40 per meal. House Republicans should abandon their efforts to trim the deficit on the backs of millions of hard-working, but needy Americans.
To raise awareness of the November 1st cuts, hunger advocates across the nation have launched stopthehungerclock.org, a countdown to these cuts. Leading up to November 1st, anti-hunger advocates across the nation will project the countdown in an effort to raise awareness of these looming cuts to SNAP. The countdown clock at Hour Children noted that there are 45 days remaining until all SNAP recipients see a reduction in benefits.
The elected officials, organizational leaders and activists, many of whom attended today's press event, echoed Congresswoman Maloney's call urging Congress against passing cuts to SNAP benefits:
"No child should have to go hungry because of partisan politics. I join Congresswoman Maloney in her call to protect the most vulnerable among us by providing access to adequate food for every American," said Assemblywoman Simotas.
"There are countless Western Queens residents who heavily rely on SNAP benefits to feed their families every single day," said Council Member Van Bramer. "If enacted, these proposed cuts will place a tremendous strain on local city food pantries, like Hour Children, which are already struggling to feed those in need. Congress cannot allow this to happen to some of our nation's most vulnerable citizens. I urge members to take action and help keep food on the table for hundreds of thousands of Americans who desperately need it. I applaud Congresswoman Maloney for championing this effort to raise awareness around this serious situation and for working with her Congressional colleagues to do the right thing for our constituents."
"I want to thank Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney for highlighting the need to prevent these cuts from taking place," said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan. "Programs such as Hour Children food pantry help to serve many in our community and these cuts would be damaging to the wonderful programs they run."
"Tens of millions of Americans -- most of whom are working parents, children, seniors, people with disabilities and veterans -- now struggle to get by on already meager SNAP benefits. We must stop the hunger clock that will cut this nutrition aid starting November 1st. The House leadership proposal to further slash SNAP in order to pay for more corporate welfare is both immoral and a threat to our economy. If implemented, the cuts could cause a tidal wave of additional hunger and eliminate jobs in the food industry. Charities such as Hour Children could not fill in even a small portion of the gap. I am honored to join Congressmember Maloney, Assemblymember Simotas and Council Member Van Bramer at Hour Children in fighting back," said NYCCAH Executive Director Berg.
"Taking food away from Americans who are struggling to get by will not help our still-recovering economy. Long Island City is fortunate to have Hour Children here to provide food for those in need and fight for the health of low-income families, but programs like this one cannot confront this problem alone. I join Congresswoman Maloney in calling for SNAP Benefits to be preserved and I thank her for her leadership on this issue," said State Sen. Michael Gianaris.
"SNAP offers vital assistance to millions of low-income Americans who rely on the program to help them get the nutrition they need to be healthy," said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. "The huge $40 billion cut that some in the House are proposing to make to SNAP would heartlessly throw millions of these Americans out of the program and cut benefits for millions more. That's why I enthusiastically support Congresswoman Maloney's efforts to make sure SNAP is adequately funded."