Washington, D.C., May 19, 2023 – Today, Bread for the World released the following statement on the debt ceiling negotiations currently underway between the White House and congressional leaders. The statement can be attributed to Rev. Eugene Cho, president and CEO of Bread for the World:
“Bread for the World is opposed to any proposal in the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations that would expand work requirements for SNAP or make policy changes to other federal nutrition programs with the intended effect of removing people from these programs.”
Proposals being considered would increase the age people are required to work to receive SNAP benefits to 55 and tighten work requirements for families receiving TANF. Studies show that work requirements do not increase employment rates or income, and taking away nutrition assistance makes it harder for people to secure employment.
“While we support the dignity of work, removing individuals and families from nutrition programs at a time when food prices in the U.S. remain at an all-time high and food banks and pantries are struggling to keep up with record demand, including demand from some working adults, would only serve to increase hunger and hardship.
“Bread believes that preventing a default on our federal debt is vital to preventing a hunger crisis. One in four Americans participates in a federal nutrition program such as SNAP, WIC, or school meals – those benefits would come to an end if the U.S. were to default. The Social Security checks for 67 million seniors and people with disabilities would be delayed or simply not issued.
“We urge the White House and Congress to come to a bipartisan debt ceiling agreement that does not expand work requirements for SNAP and make adverse changes to other nutrition assistance programs.
“’If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor.’ Deuteronomy 15:7 (NRSVUE).”
Bread for the World is a Christian advocacy organization urging U.S. decision makers to do all they can to pursue a world without hunger