Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee released the following statement regarding letters she sent to President Obama and House Speaker Boehner concerning the need to take action to prevent the loss of SNAP benefits depended upon by 47.7 million Americans:
"The cuts reduce the amount per-meal that beneficiaries receive to $1.40 further stretching the resources of local food pantries that will be pressed to fill the gap to keep people from going hungry. A family of 4 will receive $36 dollars less each month starting on November 1, 2013. This translates into a week of groceries that will be taken away from poor working families, disabled persons, the elderly and children.
"There are 154,741 persons in the 18th Congressional District of Texas who will suffer because of the reduction in food assistance to an average of $1.40 per-meal. Studies have documented the inadequacy of this level of funding to meet the minimal nutrition requirements for children and families.
"My letter requests Speaker Boehner to bring to the floor a vote H.R. 3353, the "Extend Not Cut SNAP Benefits Act," legislation I have cosponsored which maintains SNAP benefits at the pre-November 1, 2013 levels and allows the House and Senate to work to reach agreement on the Fiscal Year 2014 budget for food programs.
"My letter to President Obama requests that he use the resources of his office and exercise appropriate authority vested in him by law to ensure that millions of Americans who depend on SNAP benefits not suffer due to Congress' inability to pass a budget.
"SNAP programs lift 4.7 million Americans above the poverty line in 2011, including 2.1 million children. Approximately 91% of SNAP benefits go to households with incomes below the poverty line. SNAP is also a win for the economy because every $1 in benefits generates $1.70 in economic activity.
"This is not a partisan issue but a compassion issue that can be solved by those on both sides of the aisle working together for the common good."