House Budget Proposal Threatens Programs for Hungry and Poor People
March 20, 2012
© The Sacramento Bee
Bread for the World is deeply disappointed that the fiscal year 2013 budget proposal released today by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, makes deep cuts to programs for hungry and poor people at home and around the world.
"At a time when we should be supporting programs that help poor people get a leg up, we are opting to balance our federal deficit on the backs of the most vulnerable in our society," said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. "Unfortunately, this budget proposal fails to create a circle of protection around programs that are vital to hungry and poor people, the elderly, and children."
This FY 2013 budget proposal would have a devastating impact on programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), low-income tax credits, and would make international food aid and poverty-focused foreign assistance vulnerable to cuts that would undermine our national security.
"The budget should not be a partisan issue, it is a moral one. We must address our deficits, without sacrificing our commitment to reducing hunger and poverty," said Beckmann. "Rep. Ryan is reneging on last year's budget agreement that would have protected all major low-income entitlement programs."
The proposed budget would cut SNAP by turning it into a block grant program. This would prevent the program from responding when there is an increase in need. Once the money from the block grant is spent, there cannot be an increase in funds. Currently, SNAP automatically increases with need. "Despite the high levels of poverty and unemployment over the past few years, hunger has not increased thanks to programs like SNAP," said Beckmann.
Bread for the World recently launched its 2012 Offering of Letters campaign, which urges members of Congress to create a circle of protection around programs for hungry and poor people in this country and abroad. Within this broader campaign are four mini-campaigns that address specific legislative topics: domestic nutrition, poverty-focused foreign assistance, tax policy, and international food aid.