Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) and CPC Whip Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) voted against the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013, H.R. 3102, a Republican bill to drastically cut nutrition programs.
H.R. 3102 cuts the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by nearly $40 billion over 10 years. The bill, which passed on a 217-210 vote, leaves 3.8 million Americans without food assistance and allows states to cut off an entire family’s food aid if parents can’t find a job or find space in a job-training program.
“Some of my Republican colleagues want to cut food assistance for needy families instead of closing business tax loopholes as a way to save money,” said Rep. Grijalva. “There's a basic question of fairness and who our country looks out for here. If you think more corporate tax cuts are the answer, go ahead and say so, but don't take food out of children's mouths while you're doing it.”
“Food assistance for working families fulfills a promise we make to each other: if you fall on hard times, your neighbors, friends and fellow Americans will help you get a meal,” Rep. Ellison said. “Eighteen companies dodged $92 billion in taxes last year, which is more than double the cut passed by Republicans today. Let’s cut corporate waste, not meals for our nation’s children.”
“The proposed $40 billion in cuts to our nation’s first line of defense against hunger, SNAP, are heartless, unbelievable, and immoral,” Rep. Barbara Lee said. “We cannot balance our budget on the backs of our country’s children, seniors, veterans, and disabled. As a former recipient of public assistance, I know that I would not be where I am today if it were not for the vital lifeline that was extended to me by the American people. SNAP serves as a bridge over troubled waters, and at a time when we are still recovering from the Great Recession, we must protect our nation’s vulnerable, not push them aside.”
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps almost 50 million Americans – including 900,000 veterans – each month. For every dollar in SNAP assistance, economic activity increases by $1.73. Seventy-five percent of SNAP recipients receive benefits for less than 12 months.