For Immediate Release: September 19, 2013
Virginians Tell Congress: Don’t Take Food from Kids While Protecting Corporate Tax Loopholes
Louisa, Va. – Local Virginia Organizing members, anti-hunger advocates, and people who depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for help feeding their families are working this week to let U.S. Representative Eric Cantor know that cuts in SNAP are unacceptable in response to a likely vote in the U.S. House of Representatives this week that would cut food assistance by $40 billion over 10 years and affect up to six million Americans.
Virginia Organizing members in Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District are calling on Congress to stop playing political “hunger games” by proposing deep cuts to SNAP while at the same time continuing to protect tax loopholes that allow corporations like Apple, General Electric, Verizon and others to avoid paying their fair share in federal taxes.
“In this area, we have a lot of underprivileged people, especially elderly folks, who really depend on these benefits. When I first got out of the military and came back here, I was impressed that the government cared enough to offer these benefits and realized that people rely on them,” said district resident and Virginia Organizing member Rick Chapman. “If these are taken away, where do people go? You’re taking away their lifeline.”
“Virginia Organizing has been knocking on doors, making thousands of phone calls, and holding dozens of meetings in Congressman Cantor’s district for over a year on a variety of public issues. No one in the community is out there saying they want to cut food stamps,” said Sandra A. Cook, Chairperson of Virginia Organizing.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 938,000 Virginians (1 out of every 9 state residents) have benefited from SNAP in 2013. In Virginia, 73 percent of beneficiaries are in families with children and 31 percent of beneficiaries are in families with elderly or disabled members.
Over the last two years, Congress has already cut over a trillion dollars from services and benefits provided through programs like SNAP. At the same time that some Congressional leaders are promoting this new cut, they refuse to end tax loopholes that corporate giants like Apple, General Electric and Verizon use to avoid paying any federal income taxes, or dramatically reduce what they pay, despite making billions in profits.
“Congress has already stacked the deck against the middle-class and working families in this country by making across-the-board cuts to healthcare, education and public safety,” said Cook. “Now on top of those cuts, it will punish hungry children, families, veterans and seniors while it continues to reward corporations with tax breaks and loopholes.”
The proposed $40 billion cut to SNAP, also known as Food Stamps, would come on top of across-the-board cuts to SNAP slated to begin in November, which would lower the average benefit per person to less than $1.40 per meal. The $40 billion cut would impact a range of people but would disproportionately hurt children, who make up almost half of SNAP recipients.
In 2011, nearly 1 million children in the U.S. lived in families that had to limit how much they could eat because of an inability to afford food. Food insecurity among such families would increase if SNAP benefits were cut under the new legislation proposed by House leaders. The $40 billion cut over the next 10 years would also:
· Cut nutrition assistance for 210,000 children who receive free meals at school
· Cut food assistance for 170,000 veterans who depend on SNAP
· Place increased burdens on churches, food pantries, soup kitchens and agencies who in communities with large populations facing food insecurity
“It’s outrageous that Congress would play political games with people who are struggling to put food on the table. We are demanding that Representative Cantor stand up and protect families and communities, especially those who have been hardest hit by the recession,” said Cook.
Virginia Organizing is a non-partisan statewide grassroots organization that brings people together to create a more just Virginia.