Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Senate Considers Recovery Act

As a recent CNN article demonstrated, as the economy continues to fail, more people are turning to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) in order to avoid hunger. Said Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, “The main purpose of the program is to wipe out Third World starvation in America, and it's worked.” Berg and other advocates are optimistic about the improvements included in the economic stimulus plan now being debated in the Senate.

The proposed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes the largest investment in nutrition assistance funding in decades. On Monday, the Senate began to debate the $885-billion stimulus plan. In particular, the bill includes a section of policy recommendations specifically geared towards “Alleviating Hunger”: for example, it includes $20 billion for SNAP, $200 million for Senior Nutrition Programs, and $726 million to increase the number of states that provide Afterschool Meals for Children.

Thanks to your help, an $819 billion version passed the House last week, but there are now several challenges to its spending levels in the Senate debate. It is critical that Congress approves the funding levels proposed in this bill immediately to provide assistance to individuals and families throughout the United States as soon as possible.

Please contact your Senators today to support the bill and the current level of anti-hunger funding. If you are in New York, please call: Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer (D - NY) at (202) 224-6542 and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D - NY) at (202) 224-4451. Alternately, you may phone the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

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