With nearly one in six Americans now living in poverty, too many people are going without. Too many are struggling to put food on the table. Too many are struggling to keep the heat on. Now more than ever, nutrition programs like food stamps (SNAP), Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) are a necessity. They are a basic obligation to our fellow citizens and to our community. To ensure that hard-working American families do not have to add hunger and heat to the problems they face, I am committed to protecting these essential programs.
Recently I asked the Secretary of Agriculture, to quickly perform the TEFAP purchases which will keep the shelves of food banks stocked. I also requested that the Deficit Reduction committee stay away from anti-hunger programs like SNAP, and joined a filibuster protest on the House Floor which saved $147 million in WIC assistance benefits. I have repeatedly urged the House leadership to protect funding levels for LIHEAP and requested to the Appropriations Committee that they fully support energy assistance.
Nutrition and energy assistance programs like these did not run our economy off the cliff. They did not drive us into debt, or stop the banks from extending credit. But still there are many in Congress who are ready to cut programs that feed and warm millions of hardworking Americans who are struggling through no fault of their own. This is not how America treats her children. If we repealed tax breaks for the wealthy for one week, we could pay for one of these entire programs. If the banks and lenders were “too big to fail”, then no Atlanta family should be too small to save.
More on Poverty
Yesterday Rep. John Lewis attended a ceremony at the White House where President Barack Obama introduced his new initiative, My Brother's Keeper, a White House program serving young African American men and boys. Rep. Lewis made these comments: