Wednesday, September 23, 2015

DeLauro: Shutdown Would Mean More Hungry Americans



WASHINGTON, DC—Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the former chair and current senior member of the subcommittee responsible for funding the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), released the following statement today calling on Republican leadership to reverse their dangerous course and ensure a government shutdown does not happen:

“Republican cruelty to those less fortunate than them has stooped to a new low. I spoke with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this afternoon and he very clearly said that there is not enough money in the SNAP contingency fund to prevent millions of Americans from going hungry should the government shut down on October 1. That is the fault of one group of people only: Republicans in Congress. They have long waged a war against the poor and vulnerable. With this renewed intransigence over the federal budget, congressional Republicans have shown that they are content simply to let poor people starve. To hear of this impending disaster when we are preparing to hear from His Holiness Pope Francis, who has spoken so eloquently about hunger, is nothing short of a cruel joke.

“Hunger is not an imaginary problem. I have stood with the Witnesses to Hunger and seen the pain in their faces as they describe what it is like to tell their children there is no food left. Less than a week ago, the Census Bureau revealed that poverty remains a stubborn, intractable problem in American society. One in five children under age six suffers from food insecurity—a fancy way of saying they start and end their days hungry. That is abhorrent. The current brinksmanship is a travesty and the blame for it is to be laid solely at the feet of congressional Republicans.”

USDA recently informed states that, due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation funding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps) for the next fiscal year, the states should not begin the process of ensuring food stamp recipients have money to buy food on October 1. In short, due to Republicans’ failure to perform the most basic responsibility of governance, the Republican plan is becoming a reality. Millions of Americans will go hungry.