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Prominent National Clergy Urge Lawmakers to Reject Cuts to SNAP and Prioritize Families


May 7, 2018


Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org, (202) 735-7123

Mackenzie Harris, mharris@faithinpubliclife.org, (610) 283-8879

Prominent National Clergy Urge Lawmakers to Reject Cuts to SNAP and Prioritize Families

Washington, D.C. — On Monday, May 7th, prominent faith leaders held a press conference on Capitol Hill urging lawmakers to reject proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the Farm Bill that would reduce or eliminate food assistance for 2 million Americans, including low-income working families, children, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. The House is expected to vote on this legislation in the next two weeks.

Following the press conference, faith leaders delivered a moral declaration signed by over 500 people of faith to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office demanding lawmakers do the right thing and reject this immoral policy.

To view photos, click here. To view the livestream video, click here.

Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO, Faith in Public Life and Former Chair of the White House Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships:

“The House GOP’s version of the farm bill goes against the 2,000 verses of scripture telling us to care for the poor. It does the opposite of what Jesus did with the loaves and fishes. The Farm Bill has funding cuts and unnecessary red tape that would cut or even eliminate crucial food assistance more to two million Americans. It will hurt our most vulnerable citizens: children, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. The results will be cruel and dire. Empty cupboards, empty refrigerators and empty stomachs.”

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, President and Senior Lecturer, Repairers of the Breach; Co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival:

“If you were bothered by the House Speaker firing a Chaplain for pray-in, you should be more bothered by a bill that is preying on the poor and the working poor in our midst. The Bible says in Isaiah 10, ‘Woe unto those who legislate evil and rob the poor of their rights and make women and children their prey.’ That’s the scripture that most of these politicians put their hands on when they swear to uphold the constitution. How ugly is it, in a bill about farming and food, that you then insert a way to take food from the poorest among us?”

Representative Donald McEachin (VA-04):

“The SNAP program provides food assistance to help the most vulnerable Americans meet one of their most basic human needs: the need for sustenance. For many families, it is the last line of defense against hunger. According to the Urban Institute, food assistance keeps more than eight million people out of poverty. If you are hungry, or impoverished, everything is harder – harder to work, harder to learn, harder to do any of the tasks that can help someone who is down and out get back on his or her feet. We need to support and bring good news to the poor – not strip them of the resources they need most. I was proud to stand today with various faith leaders to call on Congress to behave as our faiths command us – to love our neighbors as ourselves. I call on Congressional Republicans to fully fund SNAP.”

Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS Executive Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice:

“H.R. 2 takes billions of dollars away from the efficient delivery of food to low-income families and funnels it into creating complex bureaucracies to administer inefficient employment and training schemes. The House GOP leadership is practicing a ‘bait and switch’ tactic telling its members not to worry about the changes because the dollar amount in the nutrition title are about the same as before. BUT what they are not telling their members that this ill-conceived bill will result in benefits being slashed by $9 billion over a decade, while it would cost $7.6 billion to administer mandatory state education and training programs. This is the wrong way forward and must be stopped!”

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism:

​“Every spring, at our Passover seders, Jews declare, ‘Let all who are hungry come and eat.’ This centuries old exhortation is a reminder that no family should face a choice between paying for groceries or the rent. We call on Congress to protect SNAP and reject the House Farm Bill, which will harm the Americans most in need. Together, Americans of all faiths are here to proclaim that all people deserve dignity and that no American should fear going without food.”

Afif Rahman, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Poligon Education Fund:

“In Islam, we believe that to save one life is to save all of humanity, and holding food ransom from hungry people threatens millions of lives. Next week will mark the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, when many Muslims will fast from sunrise to sunset, experiencing a glimpse of what hunger feels like. In that spirit, we urge Congress to vote NO on the Farm Bill; vote NO on cutting funding for SNAP. We also request members of Congress on both sides of the aisle embrace democracy and bipartisanship to draft a Farm Bill that protects and increases funding for SNAP and does not force Americans to decide between working and staying alive.”


Faith in Public Life is a national network of nearly 50,000 clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice and the common good.

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