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Saturday, 11 January 2014 15:37

On 50th anniversary of 'War on Poverty' speech, Worcester Rep. Jim McGovern says cuts to SNAP are 'war on poor people'

Written by  Sam Bonacci | MassLive
Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., talks about efforts to preserve documents belonging to Ernest Hemingway that have been housed for decades at the author's former estate in Cuba, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, May 6, 2013. Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., talks about efforts to preserve documents belonging to Ernest Hemingway that have been housed for decades at the author's former estate in Cuba, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, May 6, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern says the "War on Poverty" has shifted from helping the poor to fighting them.

McGovern, a Democrat who represents the 2nd district, spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives Wednesday about hunger in America and potential cuts to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) in the proposed Farm Bill.

The Worcester representative spoke on the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson's state of the union speech that addressed education and health care as poverty reduction strategies. The speech is referred to as the "War on Poverty" at time when the poverty rate was 19 percent.

According to the most recent U.S. Census numbers, 15 percent of Americans, 46.5 million, live in poverty.

"Despite the many successes, and there have been a number of successes over the past 50 years, there are those in this country and this House who would destroy the programs that help people in need," said McGovern. "Those who have replaced the 'War on Poverty' with a new war on poor people."

The House may vote on a Farm Bill conference report as early as next week. On the line is $8 billion in cuts to SNAP, said McGovern. Additionally, there will be changes to federal program that helps Americans pay their energy bills.

McGovern said this "loophole" would reduce an already meager benefit program and disproportionately affect seniors and the disabled.

Three million families would see a reduction $90 a month, on average.

This kind of reductions would be one thing if the funds went back into SNAP, but they do not, said McGovern. Instead those cuts would help to continue subsidies in the Farm Bill.

"Why on earth would we pass a farm bill that makes the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. We must and can do better," said McGovern. "It is a scandal that in the richest country in the world we have a hunger problem."

He added, "I will oppose any Farm Bill in America that makes hunger worse."

Link to original article from MassLive.com

Read 4849 times Last modified on Saturday, 11 January 2014 15:43

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