Republicans may have said repeatedly that they want to save the economy, but that often seems to be the exact opposite of what they actually do. Here’s the latest example: the GOP would like to save the disproportionate defense spending by cutting food stamps.
That’s right: more than 46 million Americans depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly the food stamps program, to help put food on their tables every day. SNAP has prevented our nation’s economic crisis from turning into a hunger crisis. But the House of Representatives recently proposed cutting more than $169 billion from SNAP.
Cuts to SNAP, particularly at a time of continued high unemployment and unprecedented need for food assistance, are a moral outrage.
In a memo sent to members last month instructing them how to write their reconciliation bill, Republicans picked a number of targets, including extracting $80 billion from federal workers and $44 billion from health care. In all, it identifies $78 billion to cut in 2013, and details around $300 billion over 10 years.
But the memo spends the most time targeting food stamps, on which more Americans rely than ever.
Each month during fiscal 2011, an average of 45 million mostly poor Americans received benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, at a cost of $78 billion to the federal government. Last year’s SNAP participation represented a 70 percent increase from 2007, and the highest enrollment the program has ever seen. In that time, the cost of the program more than doubled.
You might suppose that Republican Congresspeople would be concerned, not to mention ashamed, that so many U.S. citizens are so poor that they must depend on food stamps.
But you would be wrong. Not only have Republicans failed to support a single plan that might help average Americans get back on their feet, but they are also determined to protect and increase their giant defense budget.
So who will pick up the tab for America’s poor people?
Some members of Congress have suggested that churches should be primarily responsible for feeding hungry people. The devastating proposed cuts by the House Budget and House Agriculture Committees to SNAP would mean on average every church in the country would have to come up with approximately $50,000 dedicated to feeding people — every year for the next 10 years to make up for the cuts.
That’s outrageous! Churches are already responding to unprecedented need, but this burden is more than they can bear and it’s our poorest and most vulnerable who will be harmed.
If you think that what some members of the GOP are suggesting is outrageous, please sign our petition telling Congress that churches can’t be the only ones responsible for feeding hungry people.
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