Thursday, September 19, 2013

House Rules Committee Rejects Conyers Amendment Extending Food Assistance Program for an Additional Year

(WASHINGTON) – Yesterday, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) offered an amendment to H.R. 3102, the “Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act,” providing a one year extension of the 13.6 percent increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits included in the 2009 American Recovery and Restoration Act.  However, Republican Members of the House Rules Committee defeated the amendment by a vote of 3-9. Upon learning of the amendment’s defeat, Rep. Conyers issued the following statement: 

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“Today, the U.S. House of Representatives is voting on H.R. 3102, the so-called ‘Nutrition and Work Opportunity Act.’ This bill is dually immoral and will cause severe trauma to low-income Americans if it were to become law. At a time when Americans are already struggling to put food on their tables in the aftermath of the Great Recession, this legislation would cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by a $40 billion. This is cruel and simply unacceptable,” said Conyers.

“To prevent this cut I offered an amendment to the ‘Nutrition and Work Opportunity Act’ that would substitute these massive cuts with a one year extension of the 13.6 increase in SNAP benefits included in the 2009 American Recovery and Restoration Act.  Unfortunately, Republican Congressmen on the House Rules Committee rejected my amendment, denying critical funding for assistance to millions in our country. 

According to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the scheduled cut would result in a reduction in benefits of $36 per month for a family of four. The cut will mean $5 billion less in SNAP benefits to help feed American families in fiscal year 2014 alone, a serious loss for families whose benefits will, after this cut, average less than $1.40 per person, per meal.  These cuts would cause hardship for SNAP participants, including 22 million children and 9 million people who are elderly or have a serious disability. It is unconscionable to think Congress would support such a devastating cut considering the painfully slow economic recovery. Rather than pursue divisive, ideological measures, I urge my colleagues to come together and support the working men and women of this country.”

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