Don't cut SNAP!
- Created on Monday, 04 June 2012 16:47
Very rarely does JRLC comment on federal legislation, but when an issue has such specific local consequences, at times our coalition is compelled to speak out. This is one of those times.
Current legislation in the US House, if passed as proposed, would cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) by a total of $169.5 billion over five years. Similar to what some local legislators claimed in the 2011 legislative session, some congressional leaders are essentially saying that every church in America ought to fill the gap created by these cuts. The Hartford Institute for Religion and Research estimates there are 335,000 religious congregations in the United States. If the House's proposals are enacted, each congregation will have to spend about $50,000 more annually to feed those who would see a reduction or loss of benefits.
Can your congregation take on that amount of costs? I know mine couldn't; our entire annual budget isn't much more than $50,000. Last year, JRLC formulated some talking points to respond to the assertion that it is "the Church's job" to provide a social safety net. We find with some tweaking of numbers and program names, the talking points are just as pertinent now as they were 15 months ago.
This week the Senate will take up debate on the Farm Bill, where SNAP is housed in the federal budget. Now is the time to be acting and telling our members of congress: Don't make cuts to SNAP! Cuts at the federal level would have a disastrous effect not only on our congregational budgets, but also add stress to our state's already tight budget.
TAKE ACTION NOW: Sign Bread for the World's petition opposing cuts to SNAP, and then call your Senator and Representative and tell them what you think in your own words.
Alison Killeen, Statewide Organizer
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