By Congressman Pete Gallego —
The conversation around the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
(SNAP) has reached a new low. A proposal by extremists in the U.S.
Congress would take away nutritional assistance from nearly four million
Americans â€“ particularly children, seniors, and even Veterans.
The SNAP program is an anti-hunger safety net that serves vulnerable
children and senior across our country. The average benefit is four
dollars and fifty cents a day, that's a lifeline, that's not a luxury
In 2010, SNAP help more than 3.6 million people in Texas afford food.
It's critical to children and seniors. In the 23rd congressional
district there are 36,000 households receiving SNAP.
The vast majority are households with working class families, with young kids.
SNAP is a critical support for many households with Veterans.
Approximately 900,000 veterans across the country receive SNAP each
month – an estimate that's likely understated since Census data do not
capture homeless veterans. And, according to Census data, at least 1.5
million American households with a resident Veteran receive food stamps.
Food purchases paid for using SNAP at commissaries open to Veterans
tripled from 2008 to 2011.
According to Feed Our Vets, a nonprofit group that establishes food
pantries for Veterans, three million veterans and their families don't
get enough to eat each month.
Two of the most extreme and cruel provisions of the current proposals
to cut SNAP would hurt low-income veterans who are trying to get by.
Under the proposal â€“ sates would be allowed to cancel nutritional
assistance to certain people who want to work or are participate in job
training programs. Not even Veterans receiving disability compensation
would be exempt.
Nutritional assistance to Veterans who aren't raising minor children â€“
regardless of how hard they are looking for work â€“ would also be cut.
This provision targets the most vulnerable; including Veterans with
incomes averaging about $2,500 a year.
In total, these two provisions could cut food assistance for 170,000
Veterans, and a total of 1.7 million Americans. Another 2.1 million
would be dropped in 2014 as a result of the tighter eligibility rules.
The only thing such severe cuts accomplish is to deprive the neediest
Americans food. SNAP is a vital tool to combat hunger and help
Americans put food on the table as they seek new employment, send their
kids to school, and get themselves back on their feet.
We cannot allow seniors, children, and our Veterans to go hungry.
Thank you for trusting me to work for you.