To rejoice or recoil…that’s the question
August 4, 2010 § 5 Comments
REJOICE. The Senate is ready to move the Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill forward.
QUESTION. How should they pay for this legislation?
RECOIL. By using SNAP benefits for low-income people, families and children.
We often write about the importance of SNAP (food stamp) benefits for low-income people who struggle with hunger and our local business communities (for every $5 of SNAP benefits spent, $9 are generated). For many of us, SNAP wins our hearts and minds: it helps people at risk of hunger, and it simply makes sense – especially during a terrible economic downturn.
If you are someone like me who believes SNAP benefits belong exclusively to the people who need them, and you’re following legislation in the U.S. Senate, you’ve probably had a bad day too. This morning, the Senate passed a bill using almost $12 billion in SNAP stimulus funds to provide assistance to states and aid for teachers. While the choices are difficult, taking SNAP benefits away from the more than 40 million Americans struggling with hunger (and nearly half of them children) will just make a bad situation worse.
Now the Senate is prepared to move forward with an absolutely heartless proposal defying all logic. They propose to use a further $2.4 billion of SNAP benefits to pay for Child Nutrition Reauthorization! As a colleague aptly put it, this isn’t just robbing Peter to pay Paul. It’s robbing Peter to feed Peter’s kids. Their proposal is particularly disturbing in its symbolism – the issue of hunger really isn’t being taken seriously and is not the priority it’s often said to be.
So, instead of rejoicing that this critical bill strengthening federal child nutrition programs is moving forward, I’m recoiling from what the Senate wants to use to offset the costs.
SNAP benefits must be protected and never used to offset the costs of any legislation – period. But the proposal to use SNAP benefits for low-income families to pay for child nutrition programs for low-income children? Utterly bizarre. If you find this proposal as offensive as we do, please take action by clicking here to protest the Senate’s proposal.
There will soon be opportunities for those who care about people at risk of hunger to express their opposition to SNAP cuts to the U.S. House of Representatives. I will keep you informed.