SVDP President Sheila Gilbert writes… Debate Begins on Cuts to SNAP –

Dear Vincentians and Supporters of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul:

Sheila GIlbertPlease pardon these back-to-back alerts, but Congress is moving quickly on issues of concern to those we serve.

Last year Congress chose to extend the current Farm Bill for one year but must now pass legislation before it expires at the end of September 2013.

The Senate plan proposes reducing agriculture funding over 10 years by $23 billion. This includes over $4 billion in proposed cuts to the SNAP (food stamps) program and over $5 billion in cuts to conservation programs. 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 Senate’s proposal calls for ending some subsidies (direct payments) and this is a step in the right direction. The Catholic community urges further reductions in subsidies and additional reforms to crop insurance subsidies that would target them to small and medium-sized farmers and ranchers who truly need assistance, especially minority owned farms, and end assistance that is disproportionately given to larger growers and agribusinesses. Savings from cuts to subsidies should be used to support hunger and nutrition programs that feed hungry, poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad.

Like the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and other Catholic organizations, the Society agrees that reducing future unsustainable deficits is important, but, at the same time, we must remind Congress that its decisions are not just economic in nature but are also political and moral, and have consequences for the people we serve.

E-mail or call your senators and urge them to support a fair Farm Bill and related amendments that will help feed hungry people here at home and abroad, support international development, promote growth in U.S. rural communities and encourage stewardship of creation. Tell your senators to oppose cuts to these critical programs that help people and communities in need.

Please click on the “Take Action” link.

Yours in St. Vincent and Blessed Frédéric,

Sheila Gilbert
National Council of U.S. SVdP

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