As debate on the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (Farm Bill) began today, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) helped lead the fight against the deep and hurtful cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps).
The bill cuts $20.5 billion from the program, depriving up to two million Americans--as many as one million of them children--access to it and potentially pushing them into poverty. It would kick roughly 210,000 children off of the free school lunch program. And by changing the relationship between SNAP and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), it would take benefits from millions more seniors and families.
"These cuts to our nation's most important anti-hunger program, food stamps, are immoral. Right now, all across the country, nearly 50 million Americans are struggling with hunger. That includes 19 million kids.
"Over the past thirty years of policies aimed at debt and deficit reduction, the key programs that help the most vulnerable among us to get by have always been protected from deep cuts. We should not destroy that long-standing bipartisan tradition today, not at such a time of great need.
"Research has shown that SNAP is the most effective program pushing against the steep rise in extreme poverty. Food stamps are proven to improve low-income children's health and development. They have one of the lowest error rates of any program. And, while feeding families in need, they spur the economy, by getting resources to people who will spend them.
"This, a time of great need all across the country, is not the time to be slashing crucial nutrition assistance. To do so would be a cruel and unnecessary abdication of our responsibilities."