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Tell Congress: Don’t let Americans go hungry

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Petition to Congress:

"Don’t let Americans go hungry when there are no jobs or educational programs available. Support fixes to ensure that those who are seeking jobs or training remain eligible for food stamps."

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    Tell Congress: Don’t let Americans go hungry

    While inequality skyrockets and the richest few dodge paying their fair share, states across the country are poised to deny between 500,000 and 1 million people help buying groceries, starting April 1.1

    Over the past few years, a number of states across the country have given struggling Americans a desperately needed lifeline. But now, many of those same states are reinstating cruel laws requiring a time limit on food assistance.2

    Congress can stop it with a simple legislative fix3 – but it will take loud and sustained pressure, starting right now.

    Tell Congress: Don’t let Americans go hungry.

    The 1996 welfare reform law included onerous restrictions that force people to work demeaning jobs in order to be eligible for basic levels of human survival. For so-called “able-bodied adults” without children, it is even harsher. These Americans are only eligible for food assistance for three months total within a span of three years, unless they are employed or in a job training program.4

    This is a cruel and unrealistic system to “incentivize” people to work. And it is blatantly unfair as it doesn't respect people who are looking for work but can't find any.5

    For the past few years, most states waived these requirements because the economy was still in recovery. But with state budgets pressed by austerity politics and undermined by tax cuts for the rich, there is new pressure to let the law go back into effect. In some places, such as New York, the statistics show a growing economy for some – while countless more are still struggling.6

    The fix in Congress is simple: Change the law to allow people seeking a job or training to keep their food aid, even if they can’t find an opening or their state doesn’t offer educational programs.7 It is so straightforward even Republicans and corporate Democrats should be willing to get behind it – or explain to voters why they want to take food away from those who are job-hunting.

    Tell Congress: Don’t let Americans go hungry.

    It is worth remembering that the most vulnerable among us have already sacrificed, while many tax breaks and subsidies for corporations and the super-rich remain untouched. Republican governors and state legislatures have denied aid to millions through new restrictions on eligibility.8 In 2013, the Republican House approved a $20 billion cut to the food stamp program. While that did not become law, a smaller $8.6 billion cut was agreed to in a compromise with Democrats.9

    Denying someone food when there is no job available is heartless. We need to show members of both parties that it would be a moral outrage to slash food stamps any further.

    Tell Congress: No cuts to food stamps.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    1. Ed Bolen et. al., “More Than 500,000 Adults Will Lose SNAP Benefits in 2016 as Waivers Expire,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, January 21, 2016.
    2. Ibid.
    3. Ibid.
    4. Ibid.
    5. Ibid.
    6. Ibid.
    7. Ibid.
    8. Alan Pyke, “Maine Has Kicked 6,500 People Off Of Food Stamps So Far This Winter” ThinkProgress, January 21, 2015.
    9. Tennille Tracy, “Republicans Eye Changes to Food-Stamp Program” Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2015.