To the Editor:
Last week, Elizabeth Berry wrote a letter expressing concern over a bill passed by the House of Representatives that would cut food aid for nearly 3.8 million people, and asked that I oppose this legislation. I strongly oppose it. The cuts recommended by the House would eliminate free school meals for 280,000 children and aggravate an already difficult situation for many families in Virginia struggling to put food on the table. We must protect nutrition assistance programs because it’s our responsibility to ensure the neediest among us have access to food when times are hardest.
This week, the 2013 farm bill conference committee members met to begin negotiating the future of programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and I was proud to join 38 of my colleagues to urge them to protect nutrition assistance programs from the drastic cuts proposed by the House. While we continue to provide these critical safety net programs, we must also look for cost-saving opportunities. In June, I voted for the Senate farm bill, which saved $4.5 billion by closing loopholes and curbing several misuses of the SNAP program. I am hopeful that the farm bill conference committee will embrace these targeted savings without weakening food assistance programs that provide essential food to working families, children, senior citizens, and disabled individuals in Virginia and across the country.
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va)