To the Editor:
Here is a letter I wrote to U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger:
“The current farm bill proposes changes to [the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] that would put millions of Americans at risk of hunger.
“Specifically, the bill imposes stricter work requirements and benefit and eligibility cuts in the name of getting SNAP recipients back to work.
“Work is the surest, most sustainable and dignified way out of poverty. However, there is currently little evidence that strict work requirements in assistance programs, like SNAP, are effective in reducing poverty.
“SNAP already encourages work. When individuals have their basic needs met first, they do not need to worry about when and how they will get their next meal. Instead they can focus their energy on finding and keeping a job.
“Before adding to work requirements, Congress should review the evidence from past efforts and also learn the outcomes of the 10 current SNAP Employment and Training pilot projects authorized in the last farm bill.
“I encourage Congress to work toward a bipartisan farm bill that ends hunger and malnutrition in the U.S. and around the world. As my representative, I am asking you to vote no on the current version of the farm bill, because it will hurt some of the most vulnerable people in our district. Keep me informed as to your vote on this bill.”
Here is Kinzinger’s response:
“Thank you for taking the time to contact me to share your views on the farm bill. By hearing your thoughts and concerns on the issues, I am better able to represent you in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“With farmland covering nearly 27 million acres in Illinois, our state plays a vital role in making our nation’s farmers some of the most productive in the world. The Land of Lincoln remains a leader at producing vital commodities, including corn, soybeans and pork, and agriculture continues to be a major driver of our local economy. As your representative, I believe the reauthorization of a long-term farm bill is critical to providing the farmers in the 16th District with the certainty they need to continue producing the food that feeds our families.
“Throughout 2017, the House Committee on Agriculture has held dozens of hearings and public listening sessions as they work on crafting a new farm bill. This includes hearings specifically on improving access to food for SNAP recipients, international food aid, and rural development and energy programs.”
Did Kinzinger address my concerns?
The Rev. Kenneth R. Storck