Be on the look out for the follow letter; it has been sent to newspapers around the district.
I recently called Tom Reed’s Washington office to seek his rational for his vote and support in cutting the funding of the SNAP program in the farm bill of $8 billion dollars over ten years. The SNAP program is better known as food stamps for the poor. The House, with Congressman Reed’s support, had previously passed a farm bill which reduced funding for food stamps by $39 billion over ten years.
I talked with a very pleasant young man in Reed’s office. As nice as he was, he was never able to directly answer my question. The response I kept getting was that there was money in the bill for education and training of those on food stamps to better help them get a job. That is terrific. I am all for that.
What I am not for is taking food off the plates of poor people. The poor already suffered cuts to their food stamps in November, and now they are forced to accept more cuts.
Adding November’s cuts and the new cuts in the farm bill, some 300,000 New York families will lose a total $126.00 a month in money for food for a total of $1512.00 a year. That may not sound like a lot to some of you, but for those living on the edge it makes a huge difference. Many in those 300,000 families are children. And many of those 300,000 are families of our veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I do not understand the reason and the need to take food from the poor. If the goal is to reduce spending, we could save $110 billion a year by eliminating subsidies to big corporations that are already successful. One such corporation receiving $600 million in annual subsidies is Exxon Mobil, which each year is rated either the number one or number two corporation in the world. Its 2013 profits were $44.9 billion, and they paid not one red cent in federal taxes.
I am continually reminded that we are a Christian country. Evangelist Jim Wallis has pointed out that there are several hundred references in the Bible to helping the poor. Taking food off their plates does not seem very Christian to me.