Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Post Hurricane Katrina statement on budget and nutrition programs

The Food Research and Action Center, a leading national advocacy group for low-income Americans, has organized a lobbying coalition on the premise that the month after Katrina would be the wrong time to cut food stamps. Here is the coalition's statement distributed recently to legislators in the national capital.

TO: Senators, Members of the House of Representatives

The attached letter strongly opposing Food Stamp Program cuts in the reconciliation process and strongly opposing structural changes that would weaken the program was signed by more than 1,000 organizations and sent to Congressional leaders before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. The success of the food stamp program and USDA’s fast and effective response since Hurricane Katrina in reaching people from the four affected states has shown once again that the food stamp program is fundamentally sound.

Yesterday and today representatives of more than 30 state-based anti-hunger organizations at a meeting in Washington D.C. discussed how Katrina has affected the food stamp and other anti-hunger programs and the needs of poor Americans. Based on that discussion we are writing you to:

  1. restate, but with renewed vigor and urgency, our opposition to cuts and structural changes in the Food Stamp Program;
  2. restate our deep opposition to proposed tax cuts and tax cut extensions that will disproportionately benefit wealthy Americans at a time of great need in our country;
  3. urge you in passing legislation in the weeks ahead to help Katrina’s victims to buttress the already effective ability of the food stamp, WIC, and child nutrition programs to respond; and
  4. move quickly, effectively, and fundamentally in the months and years ahead to address the problems of poverty, hunger, deprivation and inequality that Hurricane Katrina exposed.

The more than 20 million food stamp recipients just in our states – and the millions more in other states, and millions of poor, hungry, food insecure, unemployed, disabled, and others in this country who need but can not access food stamps – urge you to commit to take these four steps. We are confident that after Hurricane Katrina Congress can build on proven successful programs, Congress can reject proposals to reduce such programs and weaken the government’s fiscal position through tax cuts, and Congress can respond to the basic human needs Katrina has revealed.


Atlanta Community Food Bank, Association for Arizona Food Banks, California Association of Food Banks, California Food Policy AdvocatesCenter for Civil Justice, Center for Public Policy Priorities, Children’s AllianceChildren’s Hunger Alliance, Colorado Anti-Hunger Network, Connecticut Association for Human Services, DC Hunger Solutions, End Hunger Connecticut!, Federation of Virginia Food Banks, Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, Food Bank of Central New York, Food Bank of Iowa, Food Research and Action Center, FoodChange, Greater Minneapolis Area Council of Churches, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Health & Welfare Council of Long Island, Hunger Solutions Minnesota, Illinois Hunger Coalition, Kentucky Task Force on Hunger, MANNA Tennessee, Milwaukee Hunger Task Force, Nebraska Appleseed, Center for Law in the Public Interest, New Jersey Statewide Emergency Food Network, Nutrition Consortium of NYSNYC, Coalition Against Hunger, Oregon Food Bank, Oregon Hunger Relief Task Force, Partners in Ending Hunger, Pennsylvania Hunger Action Center, Project Bread/The Walk for Hunger, Public Policy Center of Mississippi, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, Southern New Hampshire Services, Inc., Texas Association of Community Action Agencies, Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger

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