New Opportunity for House Farm Bill

— by Benjamin Suarato

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs welcomed the House of Representatives’ rejection of the proposed Farm Bill. The bill, which included a $21 billion cut to SNAP (formerly food stamps) failed by a vote of 195-234.

“Now is time to press the restart button,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow. “The House of Representatives defeated a Farm Bill that would have eliminated food assistance for 2 million individuals, many of whom are in working families with children or seniors.  Now Congress has the opportunity to debate a serious food policy that aims to feed all Americans, not take food from the hungry.  

More after the jump.
We will continue to work with our partners in Congress and our allied faith and anti-hunger advocates to protect SNAP. We encourage Congress to move forward with a more responsible Farm Bill, one that doesn’t aim to undermine our safety net.”

“Hunger cannot be legislated away or zeroed out through budgeting. It must be confronted with compassion and effective solutions. In SNAP, we have both,” said JCPA Chair Larry Gold. “Since the beginning of the recession, SNAP has done exactly what it was designed to do: meet the needs of those who suddenly found themselves unemployed or struggling to support their family through no fault of their own. With a near 97% efficiency rate, SNAP has raised 3.9 million people out of poverty in 2011 alone and kept even more from hunger while also contributing to local economies.  We thank the majority who voted to protect our most vulnerable and are eager to continue working with Congress to pass a Farm Bill that addresses our deficit in a serious manner without targeting the poor our society should be protecting.”

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  1. Abby J. Leibman says

    — by Abby J. Leibman, President & CEO of MAZON

    “We are relieved that cooler heads prevailed in the House of Representatives today to ensure defeat of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013. The bill included Draconian cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which would have had devastating consequences. Two million individuals would have lost their benefits entirely. Another 850,000 households would have seen their benefits cut by an average of $90 per month. And 210,000 impoverished children would no longer receive free meals at school, eliminating what are for many the only meals they’re getting at all.

    As an organization informed by Jewish values, MAZON takes seriously its responsibility to care for the most vulnerable among us. We are commanded in Deuteronomy:  

    ‘If there is among you a poor man of one of your brothers inside any of your gates in your land … you shall not harden your heart, nor shut your hand from your poor brother. Rather you shall open your hand wide to him, and shall surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he lacks.’

    The Nutrition Title of the Farm Bill defeated today was deplorable – it would have eviscerated SNAP, our nation’s most important and effective anti-hunger program. MAZON’s commitment to protecting SNAP remains steadfast. We will continue to rally our supporters and our network of synagogue leaders and grantee partners in that effort.  We look forward to engaging Members of Congress to develop an alternative proposal for a Farm Bill that doesn’t ravage our country’s vital nutrition safety net.

    We thank Representative Jim McGovern and his colleagues for their continued leadership on this issue and especially our network of advocates who worked tirelessly to stand up for struggling families in America.

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