WASHINGTON — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to Rep. Frank Lucas on Tuesday urging him to protect food stamp funding as the House Agriculture Committee looks to cut spending.
Lucas, R-Cheyenne, is chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, which oversees the food stamp program because it is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Republicans have been seeking changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, pointing to an explosion in costs in recent years.
The budget passed by House Republicans requires the Agriculture Committee to make cuts to programs under its jurisdiction. The panel is scheduled to take up a proposal Wednesday to cut $33 billion from the food stamp program in the next 10 years. The committee says that would be a 4 percent cut in that time.
The bishops' letter, also sent to Rep. Collin Peterson, of Minnesota, the committee's top Democrat, states that, instead of cutting programs that serve “poor and hungry people,” the committee should target farm subsidies.
“SNAP, also known as food stamps, helps feed millions of households; 76 percent of which include a child, senior, or disabled person and many include workers who cannot provide sufficient nutrition for their families,” the letter states.
“At this time of economic turmoil and growing poverty, the committee should oppose cuts in this effective and efficient anti-hunger program that helps people live in dignity.