The Farm Bill Is Coming Up for a Vote and major Catholic groups urge action
Sheila Gilbert, President of the St. VIncent dePaul Society USA writes…
Those We Serve Need Your Involvement NOW Take Action!
Dear Vincentians and Supporters of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul,
The Senate reconvenes this week to continue consideration of the 2013 Farm Bill with final votes expected soon. The Senate’s plan currently includes more than $4 billion in cuts to the SNAP program and more than $5 billion in cuts to conservation programs. It also ends some subsidies (direct payments), which is a step in the right direction. The Senate recently adopted a harmful amendment (Vitter #1056) which will negatively affect people who have ever been convicted of certain crimes and who have paid their debt to the community by denying them access to SNAP benefits for life, and reducing benefit levels for their children and family members. The Senate must fix this amendment before a final vote on the Farm Bill.
The Catholic community, led by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the National Council of the U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference (NCRLC) support important provisions in the 2013 Farm Bill that save lives, lift people out of poverty and promote environmental stewardship. All of us acknowledge that reducing future unsustainable deficits is important, but we also want to remind members of Congress that their decisions are not only economic but also political and moral choices with human consequences. At a time of continued unemployment and high levels of poverty, the Senate should oppose cuts to effective anti-hunger programs that help people live in dignity, and strengthen and support programs that help conserve our land and resources for future generations.
The Catholic community also urges further reductions in subsidies and reforms to crop insurance subsidies so that small and medium-sized farmers and ranchers who truly need assistance (especially minority-owned farms) are supported rather than have subsidies go to larger growers and industrial agricultural firms. Savings from cuts to subsidies should be used to support hunger and nutrition programs that feed hungry, poor and vulnerable people in our nation.
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Yours in St. Vincent and Blessed Frédéric,
National Council of the U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul