Letter to the editor | Don’t ignore the hunger

June 25, 2013 

The border of Rep. Glenn Thompson’s district is just 45 miles from where I live, and he’s the only Pennsylvanian on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.

Thus we have only him to aggressively defend food programs that impact Pennsylvanians.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps 14 percent of Pennsylvanians; almost 90 percent of the benefits go to children and their parents, the elderly or disabled.

Seventy-nine percent of those households have income below the poverty line.

The recession pushed a lot of folks into food insecurity, which explains the growth in the program nationwide.

As incomes recover, people won’t be eligible and the numbers will get back to normal. This is as it should be for programs that expand when they are needed.

Recent articles have documented the shameful attack on hunger programs launched from the Agriculture Committee, and Thompson doesn’t seem to be able to wait for the economy to work. He voted to put a lot of people off SNAP now.

Sometimes our leaders act as if there is no hunger in their districts.

Here’s what he supported: cutting SNAP by $21 billion over the next 10 years; making about 2 million people ineligible immediately; and cutting about 210,000 children from subsidized school lunches. Pennsylvanians in all districts would suffer.

The House defeated that ill-advised bill, with Thompson on the losing side.

I called my representative, Bill Shuster. CDT readers should call Thompson.

Tell him not to support any farm bill that throws millions off SNAP.

Bruce Kessler

Chambersburg

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