bread.org Bread for the World 27 February 2019
breadIndiana.org Fast Once A Month
Another Attack on the Hungry and Food Insecure
On Feb. 1, 2019, the current Administration proposed a new rule to restrict states’ flexibility to provide vital food assistance to individuals and families who struggle with hunger.
This new attack against the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) directly contradicts Congress’s intent in the recently-passed Farm Bill reauthorization. If this proposed rule change goes through, it will make it harder for people to access SNAP and more people will go hungry. By USDA’s own estimate, at least 755,000 people would lose access to life-saving nutrition benefits.
This proposal is harmful and ignores the reality of many struggling Americans. We have an opportunity to stop this rule before it goes into effect. Whenever a new rule is proposed by the federal government, there is an opportunity for the public to express their support or opposition. The administration must consider what impact their proposals will have on the nation. We know that making it harder to access food assistance won’t help people find a job. Citizens’ voices are needed.
FCNL is joining Bread for the World and other interfaith and secular organizations to encourage comments against this rule. Government officials reviewing the proposed rule are required to read and consider every single comment. The more comments submitted, the longer it will take for the rule to go into effect. It will also demonstrate that this proposal is widely opposed because it will adversely affect individuals and families across the US. The talking points below are offered to help you craft your comment.
What’s at Stake Under current law, states can acquire a waiver that allows them to extend SNAP benefits to some childless adults who are struggling to find work or maintain steady employment, beyond the strict three month time limit on benefits. Typically such waivers are applied during times of high unemployment or economic recession when jobs are most difficult to find. This new proposed rule would severely restrict state’s ability to waive the time limit, making it even harder for people who are already struggling to access food assistance. This harsh rule was in one early draft of the Farm Bill, but it was pointedly removed by Congress before the final bill was approved.
How to Talk about the Proposed Rule Create your own comment based on your beliefs. Use these statements to help make your point:
· By USDA’s own estimate, the proposed rule change would result in 755,000 people losing access to life-saving nutrition benefits.
· This proposal is out of touch with the reality of struggling Americans. Taking away food from people who are underemployed and unemployed won’t help them find a job.
· It ignores the realities of people who work inconsistent hours, lack access to transportation, live in areas where the economy has been slow to recover, or are unable to access employment and training programs—all of whom could fail to meet the harsh time limits imposed on SNAP recipients.
· Religious congregations and charitable organizations cannot make up the difference. National nutrition programs provide over 10 times more food assistance than private charity.
· This new attack against SNAP is an attempt to circumvent congressional intent as laid out in the recently-passed bipartisan Farm Bill reauthorization. Instead of rulemaking that jeopardizes food assistance, USDA should focus on implementing the 2018 Farm Bill provisions that will help Americans get back to work.
Help stop this rule by submitting a public comment against this proposal before April 2. Go to this web page (or search fcnl.org for this material) to enter your comment in the Federal Register:
Sample Comment (limit of 5000 characters)I write to oppose the administration’s proposed rule making it harder for individuals to access food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It is a disrespectful violation of Congress’ intent expressed in the 2018 Farm Bill, and it is cold and heartless to the poor.
Clients at the food pantry I support in Winchester, IN, are deeply worried that they will lose SNAP food, driving them to seek more assistance from the pantry at a time when many other new clients also will need help, while the pantry is provided no additional resources to share. Private charity cannot possibly meet the increased need this rule will cause.There is little if any evidence that stricter work requirements and time limits on food benefits are effective in reducing poverty or helping individuals find work. Instead, it will weaken SNAP and increase hunger for the 755,000 current SNAP recipients who would be impacted.
My Christian faith calls me to work to ensure that everyone can live with dignity and the opportunity to realize their full potential. This new rule will do the opposite. Please reverse the effort to impose this rule on the SNAP program.
bread.org Bread for the World 30 January 2019
BreadIndiana.org Fast Once A Month
January 16, 2019
Bread for the World Urges Support for
“Raise the Wages Act” of 2019
At Bread for the World, we believe that the preferred way to end hunger is to ensure that everyone who wants a job can get one, and that it pays a living wage. Wages have been stagnant for decades – meaning that workers are earning less, inequality is rising, and families can’t make ends meet.
If enacted, the “Raise the Wages Act” would raise the federal minimum wage this year, then increase it annually until it reaches $15 an hour in 2024. Thereafter, the minimum wage will be adjusted each year to keep pace with inflation. This would lift wages for 41 million American workers and significantly decrease poverty and hunger in the United States.
According to the May 2018 report submitted by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty to the UN Human Rights Council, the US has the highest rate of income inequality of Western countries. Compared to other nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the US also has the highest rates of youth poverty, infant mortality, and incarceration.
The report states that the framing of the US as “the land of opportunity” does not match the modern day reality in which the nation has the lowest rate of social mobility of any rich country. The Special Rapporteur attributes these statistics to the policy stances of government bodies, writing that “the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power.”
A serious effort is needed to acknowledge and address the interlocking of hunger and poverty. Policies and practitioners must help people rise above the circumstances that lead them to need food assistance. That effort must include aiding those applying to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and other public assistance programs to maintain the health needed for employment, and helping the previously incarcerated to find meaningful work.
The UN Report offers many suggestions to policymakers to address the income gap in the US. Key among them is recognizing the social and economic impact of inequality. A 2018 federal survey showed that 40% of US households cannot cover a $400 emergency expense. A quarter of US workers earn less than $10 per hour. The top 10% of US workers average nine times more income than the other 90% averages — and the top 1% averages forty times more than the bottom 90%.
“The United States is alone among developed countries in insisting that, while human rights are a fundamental importance, they do not include rights that guard against dying of hunger, dying from a lack of access to affordable health care, or growing up in a context of total deprivation,” the report states.
The “Raise the Wage Act” would, for the first time ever, bring full-time minimum-wage earnings above the poverty line for a family of four. The Bible is clear, ‘The laborer deserves to be paid’ (1 Timothy 5:18). We urge all members of Congress to co-sponsor and pass this bill.
Sen. Todd Young 400 Russell Senate Off. Bldg. Washington, DC 20510
Sen. Mike Braun B85 Russell Senate Off. Bldg. Washington, DC 20510
Rep. Greg Pence 222 Cannon HOB Washington, DC 20515
Rep. Pence, Sen. _____________:
Please support and cosponsor the newly introduced “Raise the Wages Act of 2019.”
This legislation would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024, index the minimum wage to the national median wage, and phase out the “tipped minimum wage” of $2.13 for tipped workers. Data shows that this would directly or indirectly lift the wages of 41.5 million working Americans and generate $144 billion in additional income for families who need it most – including 23.1 million women and 4.5 million single parents.
I urge you to support the “Raise the Wage Act of 2019” and preserve the minimum wage as one of the country’s most basic labor protections, or explain to me why you will not do so.
Food Pantry Sunday / Bread for the World Sunday October 21, 2018 9:15 AM
Bread for the World 2018 Offering of Letters
–Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz
Sen. Todd Young 400 Russell Senate Off. Bldg. Washington, DC 20510
Rep. Luke Messer 1230 Longworth HOB Washington, DC 20515