Pelavin: "This critical, albeit flawed, legislation ensures that thousands of low-income children do not go hungry during the worst economic conditions in a generation."
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 2, 2010 -- In response to House passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S.3307), Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism Associate Director Mark J. Pelavin issued the following statement:
Today's House vote in favor of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307) addresses a key need for struggling low-income families. In reauthorizing Child Nutrition Programs with $4.5 billion in new funding over ten years, this critical, albeit flawed, legislation ensures that thousands of low-income children will not go hungry during the worst economic conditions in a generation. Moreover, Congress greatly enhanced the nutritional content of these supplemental food programs, which is an important step in the ongoing effort to confront the growing problem of child obesity. We urge the President to quickly sign this essential piece of legislation into law.
Unfortunately, despite its admirable accomplishments, the legislation contains insufficient funds to ensure access to these essential programs. Additionally, Congress chose to fund the bill through a cut to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamp) benefits -- the second such cut this year. By imposing what amounts to a $60 per month cut in SNAP benefits for a family of four, Congress hurts the very families that this legislation is designed to help. Cutting SNAP benefits during the third consecutive year of rising poverty rates negates the positive impact of a strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization.
We call on Congress to act immediately to restore SNAP benefits to the level of funding that recipients were told they could rely upon until 2018. We also call on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take any and all administrative steps to increase access to child nutrition programs. Food security is the foundation upon which our nation's future prosperity is built; in a nation of plenty, no American should ever go hungry.