Monday, August 22, 2011

Protecting food programs during deficit reduction work

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is beginning its work and programs that help feed low-income and vulnerable people are most certainly at risk.

By statute, the first meeting of the Joint Select Committee is due by September 16th.  Congressional committees such as the House and Senate Agriculture Committees may weigh in with recommendations to the Joint Select Committee by October 14th.  The budget law that established the Joint Select Committee set deadlines for Committee development of a plan (November 23rd) and congressional enactment of the plan (December 23rd) or directs that automatic sequestration be invoked.  SNAP and other low-income programs are exempt from cuts under sequestration but at great risk during the Select Joint Committee phase of the process. 

The key message we need to deliver to our Members of Congress is just how important SNAP, child nutrition programs, and other safety net programs are for low-income and vulnerable people.  Budget cuts to these programs will result in Americans going hungry – the private sector cannot make up the difference!

Action You Can Take Now: 
1) Sign and share (via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or blog posting) with your networks the letter in support of the SNAP program (more than 2,600 organizations so far). 
2) Attend a town hall meeting, forum, or other appearance by your Member of Congress and urge him to protect SNAP, child nutrition and other safety net programs.
3) Participate in Foodshare’s “SNAP Challenge” during the month of September and encourage your elected representatives to take part (A SNAP challenge is where community leaders and elected officials live on a SNAP budget for a week).
4) Invite your Member of Congress to visit a summer food site this week (before school starts!).
 5) Remind your Member of Congress that he/she can submit comments on the debt ceiling bill for the Congressional Record throughout the entire month of August.
6) Write a letter to the editor on this issue.

(You can find out how to contact both your federal and state elected officials here.)

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