Photo of stacks of food stamps
Wikimedia Commons

New food stamp work requirements under consideration on Capitol Hill would put harsh, punitive red tape and time-consuming new restraints on program participants.

If you are a childless adult between the ages of 18 to 59 and not classified as disabled, you would have to work at least 20 hours per week to keep your benefits.

We know this won’t work from the days when you had to stand in line for hours every two weeks to submit forms and then wait to be approved by clerks to get a check. If not in compliance, under the new proposal you could lose food assistance for up to three years.

And if your family has a small increase in income, you lose! Choose between food, utilities, rent or medical needs. Are we trying to really make America — as in “the people” — better? This political ploy does not help people get or keep jobs and it definitely is not going to keep them healthy enough to be stable and productive.

The Center for Community Change is organizing against the Republican food stamps proposal, which was written by House Agriculture Committee chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas.). A coalition of grassroots organizations from across the country gathered and peacefully visited Conaway’s office in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill last week as part of an “Empty Plates, Empty Promises” campaign against Conaway’s bill. Each empty plate was inscripted with a message to vote no to food stamp cuts and changes.

The CCC encourages everyone to stand up and tell their elected representatives to vote no. We are talking about food for an estimated 40 million people in America. You must have a healthy nation in order to have a secure nation. Congress should recognize it is cheaper to keep America fed than not.

Angie Whitehurst is a Street Sense vendor.