On March 27, 2018, Policy Director Kathy Fisher spoke at a press conference hosted by Philadelphia Unemployment Project and Congressman Dwight Evans at Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. The purpose of the press conference was to push back against the proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or "food stamps") in the upcoming Farm Bill. These were her remarks:
Good morning. Thank you to Congressman Evans for his leadership and commitment, and to the other speakers for standing up for SNAP - our nation's number one line of defense against hunger.
SNAP helps people across America and throughout urban, suburban and rural parts of the Commonwealth to afford basic nutrition. We are here today, because the Congressional committee in charge of SNAP is preparing to put forward a bill that will decimate the program.
We don't yet know all the specifics - because leadership is lining up support of this damaging bill behind closed doors to rush to a vote. All indications are that the bill will make SNAP less available by making it harder for low-income working families to qualify. Leaders in the House plan to do this by adding time limits and work requirements that artificially and unrealistically limit how long people can get help as they try to get back on their feet. Their plan will also force states to waste money on increased red tape and bean counting instead of investing in supports that would actually help people.
I want to focus for just one moment on work requirements. Cutting people off SNAP will not create jobs, will not help people build skills or overcome other barriers, will not solve transportation challenges in rural areas, and will not add hours to underemployed workers schedules. All it will do is increase hunger and hardship - not just in our region, but also across every part of rural Pennsylvania where access to jobs, to adequate transportation, and to other supports is a tremendous challenge.
Plans to cut SNAP are not only alarming, but fiscally unwise. SNAP provides extremely modest benefits that save on health care costs, support child development and learning, and help individuals and families struggling to pay rent, utilities, and other basic necessities, thereby helping them, their communities, and our economy.
We need our elected officials to promote real solutions and support policies that will help people - raising the minimum wage; investing in education and skills training; child care supports, and more. They should not cut programs to save money and leave those in need stranded.
The House bill to cut SNAP is wrong - wrong on substance, wrong on process, and part of why everyday Americans are fed up. And we the people cannot stand by and let it pass.
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