WASHINGTON, June 7, 2016 — House Speaker Paul Ryan’s poverty plan ignores the realities of the struggles of millions of individuals and families across the country who need federal entitlement programs to make ends meet. By diminishing these crucial supports, the Ryan proposal actually would make poverty in America far worse.
To be clear, the Ryan proposal is not just about drastic cuts to proven programs; it’s also about dismantling the stable and effective structure of our nation’s safety net. It is downright dangerous.
It is dangerous because, by abandoning the proven strengths of the key parts of the nation’s nutrition safety net, it will increase hunger and poverty, harm health and learning, and pull resources out of low-income communities.
Poverty is a national problem that requires a national response. Speaker Ryan’s proposal to block grant school meals would roll back years of progress made against childhood hunger, denying millions of children the nutrition they need to grow and learn. This is why nearly 1,000 organizations which advocate on behalf of children’s issues have vehemently opposed the block grant provision included in the House Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill.
Damaging SNAP by building in ill-conceived changes based on misconceptions or stereotypes would result in irreparable harm to people who are trying desperately to put food on the table and to move out of poverty. These are people living in households with a child, elderly person, person with disabilities, and more than half of households with children have working adults. Cuts to SNAP would harm not just beneficiaries but would harm economies in states, localities, and communities.
In order to truly end poverty in this country, we must foster growth, improve wages, expand the reach of SNAP and the Earned Income Tax Credit, and strengthen child nutrition programs so children have access to nutritious food all day, and all year-round. Making greater investments — not diminishing what we already know works to solve poverty — will give struggling Americans an opportunity to thrive, and children the opportunity to learn and succeed.
Statement attributed to James D. Weill, president, Food Research & Action Center.