Bishop Blaire Asks House to Oppose Cuts to Nutrition Assistance for Poor and Hungry

September 12, 2013 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—Thechairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and HumanDevelopment urged the U.S. House of Representatives not to accept a proposed$40 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),formerly known as food stamps. Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton,California, called the program "one of the most effective and important federalprograms to combat hunger in the nation" in his September 11 letter.

"SNAP helps relieve pressure onoverwhelmed parishes, charities, food banks, pantries and other emergency foodproviders across the country that could not begin to meet the need for foodassistance if SNAP eligibility or benefits were reduced," Bishop Blaire wrote."The faith community and the private sector are vital in the fight to combathunger. But government has an indispensable role in safeguarding and promotingthe common good of all. This includes ensuring that poor and hungry people haveaccess to adequate and nutritious food."

Bishop Blaire said how the Housechooses to address hunger and nutrition programs has "profound moralconsequences" and that, in an economy in which 4 million people have beenunemployed for over six months, and in which millions more have stopped lookingfor work altogether, "SNAP remains an essential tool to help strugglingindividuals and families avoid hunger and stay out of poverty."

Bishop Blaire called proposals toeliminate SNAP access for people who have committed certain crimes at somepoint in their lives "counterproductive and an affront to human dignity." Healso urged that states should retain the flexibility they currently have torespond to local needs and economic conditions.

The full text of Bishop Blaire'sletter is available online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/agriculture-nutrition-rural-issues/upload/lettter-to-house-on-snap-nutrition-bill-2013-09-11.pdf

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Keywords: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),Congress, U.S. House of Representatives, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Committee onDomestic Justice and Human Development, poverty, hunger, poor, Catholic Church,social justice, government, role, U.S. bishops, USCCB, U.S. Conference ofCatholic Bishops, cuts

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