Friday, March 20, 2015

Urge Congress Not to Cut Funding for SNAP and Medicaid

'This is real. This is not a false alarm."  -Rep. Jim McGovern, co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus
Photo: Bread for the World
The House and Senate Budget Committees just released their budget proposals. Both proposals contain enormous cuts to effective anti-hunger programs. The House budget proposes cutting $140 billion from SNAP (formerly called food stamps). The Senate budget proposes cutting Medicaid by $400 billion. Medicaid provides health coverage for 28 million children.
For anti-hunger advocates, it is not in our DNA to stand on the sidelines.  Bread for the World and the Food Research Action Center (FRAC) offer opportunities to take action.
In a post in the Bread Blog this week, Eric Mitchell, Bread for the World's government relations director urges us to send emails and make phone calls to Congress urging them to protect these vital safety net programs.  "Congress repeatedly wants to use anti-poverty programs as their piggy bank for deficit reduction," said Mitchell.  "I’m tired of it. I need your voice Will you call or email your members of Congress? Tell them to protect SNAP and Medicaid from cuts."

Bread for the World provides a toll-free number to the Capitol Hill switchboard 800-826-3688.  There is also a handy link to send an email to our senators and representatives.

"Congress should be investing in our children—not undermining their health and taking meals away from them," said Mitchell.

FRAC has set up a Call-In Day for Tuesday, March 24: Participate in Keep SNAP Strong Call-In Day. Call your Representatives (pdf) and Senators (pdf) and tell them to: protect SNAP; speak out on the floor in support of SNAP; and use the data above to vote on behalf of constituents who rely on SNAP and other programs that help lift people out of poverty.

FRAC also provides the opportunity for anti-hunger advocates to share data on SNAP participation rates by congressional district. This interactive map was developed by USDA.

Here is the data for New Mexico

"We strongly encourage you to reach out to your Senators and House Members immediately and use this data as part of your arsenal to protect SNAP from budget cuts," said FRAC. "The time for us to act is now. As our anti-hunger hero, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), says, 'This is real. This is not a false alarm'."

FRAC offers handy tips on how to use the data when making contact with our member of Congress.
Highlight Number of SNAP Households: Urge your members to carefully consider how cuts to SNAP would be a disaster for thousands (use the number of households on the data sheet to make your point) of the most vulnerable citizens in his/her own backyard, including children, seniors, people with disabilities and others who are just trying to make ends meet.  
Point out the poverty level. Explain how cuts to SNAP would only make poverty and hunger in the district much worse, and would have a negative ripple effect for business and the local economy.
Highlight the Work Status numbers to illustrate that the majority of SNAP households had at least one employed person over the past year, which shows that these households are doing their best to make ends meet. SNAP plays a critical role in filling in the gaps — while also ensuring individuals get the nutrition they need - so people may be lifted out of poverty, rather than falling deeper into it.

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