The Common Good

Just Picking On The Poor: The Facts And The Faces Of Cutting SNAP

Date: September 19, 2013

Today, the House of Representatives votes on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly food stamps. The proposal would cut SNAP by nearly $40 billion over the next 10 years. These cuts would hurt millions of people, namely seniors and the poorest among us. But it will most heavily affect low-income families with children where the parent(s) work for a living but don't make enough to adequately feed their families. Working families with kids are 72 percent of all SNAP beneficiaries.

According to the Census Bureau, food stamps kept 4 million people out of poverty last year. The Congressional Budget Office reports that the House proposal would cut assistance to nearly 4 million low-income people in 2014 and an average of 3 million more each year for the next decade. Christian leaders across the evangelical, Catholic, Protestant, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American church spectrum are reacting with moral outrage at this assault on the people that Jesus specifically instructs us to protect.

Many of these leaders are from the Circle of Protection, a coalition of more than 65 heads of denominations and religious organizations, plus more than 5,000 church pastors. We have been working for more than two years to resist federal budget cuts that undermine the lives, dignity, and rights of poor and vulnerable people.