Democratic politicians gathered at Hour Children Food Pantry in Long Island City on Monday to denounce a proposal by Republicans in the House to cut $40 billion over 10 years to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides food stamps.
This plan, if passed in the House and the Senate and then is OK’d by the president, would be on top of decreases that are already happening on Nov. 1.
“We’re talking about cuts on top of cuts,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-Queens, Manhattan).
Joel Berg, the executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, attacked Republican House members who agree with the decrease.
“They claim they are pro-life, but cuts to WIC [a program for low-income breast-feeding mothers] will affect these infants,” Berg said.
In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act increased money for food stamps by 13.6 percent. Then a year later, Congress passed legislation to end the raise by 2013. On Nov. 1, those cuts will be implemented, which breaks down to about a $36 decrease a month for a family of four.
Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) said for her family — her husband, herself and her 13-month-old daughter — she spends about $40 a month on yogurt, milk and eggs.
“These are basic necessities,” Simotas said. “That’s what’s at stake.”
Hour Children Food Pantry has seen 45 new participants a month since 2010, but because of decreasing funds has had to cut down on the number of times individuals can shop at the center, said the pantry’s coordinator Abigael Burke.
“We as a nation have an obligation to feed people,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said.
The proposed cuts would remove at least 4 million people from SNAP, according to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Recipients are 47 percent children and about two-thirds are women.
The House bill would also cut 280,000 children from the school meal program, according to Maloney.