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McGovern: Trump Budget Hurts Families Struggling with Hunger

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Washington, May 24, 2017 | comments
“Donald Trump dines at Mar-a-Lago with the rich and famous. So I’m not at all shocked by his lack of knowledge about our anti-hunger safety net, or by his lack of interest in helping the most vulnerable in our society. It is clear from his budget – that he doesn’t have a clue."
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) delivered a speech on the House floor slamming President Trump for proposing a budget that proposes devastating cuts to essential anti-poverty programs that help millions of families in need every day. Highlights of Congressman McGovern’s speech are below with full text following. Click Here for Video of Congressman McGovern’s Speech.

TRUMP CUTS TO HUNGER PROGRAMS

“The Trump Budget decimates the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – known as SNAP – our nation’s first line of defense against hunger. It cuts the program by $193 billion dollars over 10 years – that’s a 25 percent reduction. President Trump makes these ruthless cuts by cutting eligibility and reducing benefits. He also adds a new requirement that states pay 25 percent of the cost of the benefits.

“Estimates suggest that in any given month, this proposal would restrict access to SNAP for up to one million Americans struggling to find work.

“Kicking people off of SNAP doesn’t help them find a job – it only makes them hungrier, weaker, and even less likely to qualify for work. It’s simply a rotten thing to do.

“With a modest food assistance benefit of about $1.40 per person, per meal, SNAP alleviates hunger and reduces poverty. It supplements the food budgets of families and helps them make ends meet. And innovations in the program have helped to spur the consumption of healthier foods.

TRUMP IS OUT OF TOUCH

“Donald Trump dines at Mar-a-Lago with the rich and famous. He hosts his wealthy friends for dinner parties at Trump Tower. So I’m not at all shocked by his lack of knowledge about our anti-hunger safety net, or by his lack of interest in helping the most vulnerable in our society. It is clear from his budget – that he doesn’t have a clue.

NEED TO STRENGTHEN HUNGER PROGRAMS

“If we want to talk about reforming SNAP – or about how the program should look in the future – we need to focus on how to make the program even better. We need to make sure anyone who needs modest food assistance benefits has access to them. We need to support and expand innovative programs that help increase the purchasing power of SNAP. And we need to increase SNAP benefits so families who are helped by the program can access more nutritious food that lasts through the month.

“I urge my colleagues to join me in rejecting this reckless and heartless proposal that will devastate so many of the families we represent. We must instead support efforts to strengthen SNAP and end hunger now.”

Click Here for Video of Congressman McGovern’s Speech

Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Speech:

“Yesterday President Trump released the most reckless and heartless budget I’ve ever seen in my life. It slashes virtually every worthwhile program.

“But what I find particularly offensive and troubling – is that this budget is a radical assault on people living in poverty or right on the edge. It guts Medicaid, housing assistance, and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

“The Trump Budget also decimates the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – known as SNAP – our nation’s first line of defense against hunger. It cuts the program by $193 billion dollars over 10 years – that’s a 25 percent reduction.

“President Trump makes these ruthless cuts by cutting eligibility and reducing benefits. He also adds a new requirement that states pay 25 percent of the cost of the benefits.

“It may be a nice sound bite to suggest that states should share the cost of providing SNAP benefits to their residents. But the reality is that state budgets are already stretched incredibly thin, and communities are already suffering from a decrease in federal investment in states. The Trump budget compounds this problem by eliminating dozens of programs that families in states across the country rely on. This will only exacerbate the stress on state budgets to deliver basic services to their residents.

“If that isn’t bad enough, President Trump would allow states to cut benefit levels to manage the costs they would incur under this cruel budget. This means that families living in certain states would see their already too-modest benefits drop through no fault of their own.

“At the same time, President Trump is proposing new fees on retail stores applying to accept SNAP benefits. We know access to food is a huge concern – especially in rural areas and in cities – and such a wrongheaded approach will further limit the ability of families on SNAP to shop for nutritious food.

“In addition, President Trump’s budget makes it even more difficult for able bodied adults without dependents to receive modest food benefits. Current law allows states to waive the time limits imposed on these vulnerable adults, but President Trump wants to severely limit the ability of states to request these waivers. Estimates suggest that in any given month, this proposal would restrict access to SNAP for up to one million Americans struggling to find work.

“Kicking people off of SNAP doesn’t help them find a job – it only makes them hungrier, weaker, and even less likely to qualify for work. It’s simply a rotten thing to do.

“Quite frankly, I was a little surprised by the magnitude of these cuts given the fact that President Trump’s Secretary of Agriculture –Sonny Perdue – testified before the House Agriculture Committee last week in strong defense of SNAP.

“He said, ‘We have no proposed changes, you don’t try to fix things that aren’t broken.’

“How are we to trust this administration’s promises on anything, when they tell us one thing on Wednesday and release a budget that does the exact opposite not even a week later?

“During the past two years, the House Agriculture Committee has held 21 hearings on SNAP. As the Ranking Member of the Nutrition Subcommittee, I’ve participated in every one of these hearings.

“What we’ve learned from our witnesses – both liberal and conservative –
is that SNAP works. It is one of the most effective and efficient programs run by the federal government. It expands in times of economic hardship and contracts as our economy recovers.

“With a modest food assistance benefit of about $1.40 per person, per meal, SNAP alleviates hunger and reduces poverty. It supplements the food budgets of families and helps them make ends meet. And innovations in the program have helped to spur the consumption of healthier foods.

“And I’d like to remind my colleagues two-thirds of people on SNAP are children, seniors, or disabled. The majority of the people who are able to work, do work.

“If we want to talk about reforming SNAP – or about how the program should look in the future – we need to focus on how to make the program even better. We need to make sure anyone who needs modest food assistance benefits has access to them. We need to support and expand innovative programs that help increase the purchasing power of SNAP. And we need to increase SNAP benefits so families who are helped by the program can access more nutritious food that lasts through the month.

“Donald Trump dines at Mar-a-Lago with the rich and famous. He hosts his wealthy friends for dinner parties at Trump Tower. So I’m not at all shocked by his lack of knowledge about our anti-hunger safety net, or by his lack of interest in helping the most vulnerable in our society. It is clear from his budget – that he doesn’t have a clue.

“I urge my colleagues to join me in rejecting this reckless and heartless proposal that will devastate so many of the families we represent. We must instead support efforts to strengthen SNAP and end hunger now.”


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