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Cruel Cuts Outlined in House Budget to SNAP and Other Safety-Net Programs Will Leave Millions of Poor Californians Below the Poverty Line

October 4, 2017

Oakland – The U.S. House of Representatives are holding a floor vote on the fiscal year 2018 House Budget Resolution this Thursday, October 5. The budget, if it passes, will slash Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (CalFresh in California), the school meals Community Eligibility Provision, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and other vital social safety-net programs critical to ending hunger and poverty. These sweeping measures will be the death knell for the millions of Californians already dealing with rapidly rising housing costs.

The Resolution would set up a process for tax cuts tilted to the wealthy to slash trillions of dollars over ten years from programs that serve people with low and moderate incomes, including cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, income assistance for working-poor and other struggling families, nutrition assistance, help for students to go to college, job training and education, environmental protections, and public health initiatives.

“California food banks oppose any cuts to safety-net programs like SNAP,” said Andrew Cheyne, Director of Government Affairs. “The harsh cuts to SNAP and other vital programs in the House budget will worsen hunger and poverty among the most vulnerable in our community, including children, the elderly and people with disabilities while offering tax cuts tilted to the wealthy. We could never fill the gap created by cuts to these programs.” 

California has the highest percentage of people living below the poverty line in the country when the cost of housing is taken into consideration. One in eight households face food insecurity. “Food insecurity” is the occasional or constant lack of access to the food one needs for a healthy, active life. Food insecurity disproportionately affects children and seniors. One out of every four California kids may go to bed hungry each night.

“Without help from SNAP, millions of Americans, including me and my child, will literally go hungry,” says Mary Fitzpatrick, a full-time student at San Francisco State University and SNAP recipient. “I can’t focus on work, school, or anything at all when I’m worrying about where my family’s next meal is coming from. Taking funding from the SNAP program takes food out of the mouth of my innocent daughter– sending her to bed without dinner, and to preschool on an empty stomach.”

California Association of Food Banks and its 41 members joined hundreds of national agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and other groups in sending a letter to the House and Senate Budget and Appropriation chairs and ranking members that urged them to reject the outlined cuts to safety-net programs.

“We are urging every California elected official to please remember their neediest constituents and vote no on the House Budget Resolution,” said Cheyne. “Our state is entirely too wealthy to let its residents go hungry.”

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