Today the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee passed legislation cutting funding for several critical federal nutrition programs.
The cuts would eliminate nutrition assistance for tens of thousands of low-income seniors, women, infants, and children.
"As our economy struggles to recover and unemployment remains stuck over 8 percent nationally, nearly 1 in 6 Americans need help feeding their families. Fighting hunger is a public private partnership. As important as food banks are, charity cannot fill the gap if federal nutrition assistance programs are cut. More help is needed, not less," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America.
This bill, as compared to the FY2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee in April, include a nearly $14 million cut to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), which provides boxes of nutritious food staples to mostly elderly participants. Due to food price inflation over the past year, the USDA estimates that $187 million will be needed in FY2013 to maintain service to the more than 599,000 CSFP participants.
If the bill passed today were to become law, approximately 43,000 low-income seniors and other low-income participants would lose the food they depend upon.
Other cuts in the bill include a $119 million cut to the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC)and a $2.4 million cut to funding that helps food banks store, transport, and distribute food to people in need.
Feeding America and its network of more than 200 food banks provide food to nearly 6 million people across all 50 states every week through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens and other emergency feeding facilities.
"We distributed more than 3 billion pounds of food last year, but it was not enough to help everyone in need. While we agree that our nation needs to get its fiscal house in order, we should not balance the budget on the backs of the poor and vulnerable," Escarra said.
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