This week Washington CAN! partnered with local leaders, elected officials and community members to hold two simultaneous press conferences in Auburn and Spokane in response to a likely vote in the U.S. House of Representatives this week that would cut food assistance by $40 billion over 10 years and affect up to six million Americans.
SNAP recipients already face a cut when, on November 1st, the average benefit will be reduced to less than $1.40 per meal. At the same time that Republican leaders are promoting this new cut, they refuse to end tax loopholes that corporate giants like General Electric, Verizon and Microsoft use to avoid paying any federal income taxes, or dramatically reduce what they pay, despite making billions in profits.
Karen Jeltsch, a certified nurse who spoke at the press conference in Spokane, shared how SNAP saved her life when after 40 years in the workforce she had to turn to food stamps temporarily to survive. She and others who spoke in Spokane and in Auburn lambasted Congressional supporters of the bill.
“These proposed cuts are sneaky and they are criminal. I pay a third of my income in taxes, but the rich corporations paying for Congress’s campaigns have whole departments dedicated to dodging their fair share of taxes,” Jeltsch explains. “It just isn’t right. It’s time for us to hold Cathy McMorris Rodgers responsible to the hardworking people here in Spokane.” For more coverage from Spokane click here.
Meanwhile, in Auburn the Reverend Jimmie James pointed to data from the Brookings Institution that defines south King County as a model for growing trends of poverty and hunger. He lambasted Representative Dave Reichert and other government representatives for choosing to take food from hungry families and children who are already among the most vulnerable in our country. Watch the rest of his powerful speech here.
The bill, known as the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act, passed narrowly in the House 217-210. Washington State Republican Representatives Reichert, McMorris Rodgers and Hastings all voted in favor of the cuts. All six Democratic representatives voted against. Representative Herrera-Beutler (R) didn’t vote.