On April 12th 2018, Chairman Michael Conaway (TX-11) released H.R. 2 the Agricultural and Nutrition Act of 2018. This legislation covers a wide range of farm policy, but also the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Christian leaders from around the country are urging a vote of no on H.R. 2 as written:

Rev. John Armstrong, Founder, The Initiative, Wheaton, IL: 

“I have served as a Protestant evangelical faith leader in an urban/exurban setting for over forty-five years. I have witnessed firsthand the serious harm that food deprivation causes for the poor. While I believe the proponents of H.R. 2 intend to foster a stronger economy, consistent with their own principles, I do not think they have properly understood the great harm H.R. 2 will do to the least among us. If we continue to refuse to care for the needy among us we not only hurt the food-deprived poor but we will directly impact the social and spiritual fabric of our entire society. For this reason I strongly oppose H.R. 2 precisely because of love for my neighbors.”  

Rev. James Brigman, Pastor, St. Paul United Methodist Church, Rockingham, NC:

I pastor in rural North Carolina. The people I meet are on various forms of assistance and we need policies that take into account how people are using these benefits, and actually help them get ahead.  A 20 hour a week work requirement just doesn’t make sense for the people I serve. A third of our jobs in Richmond county require specialized training and are mostly in medicine, education, and social work. The other jobs are in the service sector, where you can expect on average to work 16-20 hours a week.  Putting a 20 hour a week work requirement would take away needed help from some, create hardship for others, and at the end of the day create very few self sufficient households.  What’s being proposed right now would hurt more than help, when we ought to be thinking about the economic realities and go back to something that encourages job growth and flexible tools for rural America.

Jim Henderson, Doctor of Ministry, Seattle, WA:

“When I was a child my parents divorced leaving my mother as the sole bread winner for a family of 5. Without charitable assistance from church and government we would have been out on the street. Balancing the budget is always an important goal but not on the backs of the most vulnerable. Reconsider this proposal. Find another way to make the numbers work. People can pick themselves up by the bootstraps as long as they first have a pair of boots to wear.”

Rev. Terry Kyllo, Pastor, Director, Neighbors in Faith, Anacortes, WA:

“When I was a child, my parents went through a bankruptcy. I remember going to look at the shelves with our food on it every day as a way to deal with my anxiety about food. I support a strong 2018 farm bill that protects SNAP and lets children focus on their education, their friends and family instead of feeling food insecure.”

Alexei Laushkin, Executive Director, Kingdom Mission Society, Herndon, VA:

Food assistance is a gift to Americans in their time of need. Many people on SNAP already work, the House bill is unnecessarily partisan.

Rev. Carlos L. Malavé, Executive Director, Christian Churches Together, Louisville, KY:

“Americans in need of work and food should expect Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to address their challenges. While the intentions may be noble, the current proposed legislation in the Farm Bill will hurt, rather than help our people”

Rev. Chris  Olkiewicz, Lead Pastor, Windsor Heights Lutheran Church, Windsor Heights, IA:

I stand with many from across the country in supporting a strong 2018 Farm Bill, one that protects funding for SNAP, rejects efforts to turn SNAP into a block grant to states, and opposes added work requirements for SNAP eligibility, which could displace over a million people currently eligible for hunger assistance. Strong nutrition and anti-hunger programs such as SNAP are key to protecting the rights of all people to the ‘daily bread’ for which our Lord teaches us to pray.

Rev. Clint Wilson, Associate Rector, St. George’s Episcopal Church, Nashville, TN

The strength and virtue of any nation is directly correlated with how well it cares for the economically deprived and those who struggle because of systemic disadvantages.  Therefore, I stand against the House bill as it presently exists.  We can do better; we must do better.”

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