Anti-poverty programs that support millions of low-income Americans are currently experiencing billions of dollars in cuts, and Congress is discussing slashing even more in the name of deficit reduction. So far sequestration cuts have halted at least 4 million meals for seniors, pushed 57,000 children out of Head Start and if the cuts continue 185,000 people currently receiving housing assistance could find themselves without a home.
Our Jewish traditions and values command us to help those in need in our community. We are told in Proverbs 31:9, to "speak up, judge righteously, champion the poor and the needy." So speak up and urge your Members of Congress to protect America’s most vulnerable and prioritize anti-poverty programs.
When Congress was unable to agree on a long term deficit reduction program in early 2013, it triggered a process known as “sequestration.” Sequestration includes $1.2 trillion in automatic, across-the-board federal spending cuts through 2021. Among the areas that are impacted by cuts are Medicare, low income housing programs, education and more. These cuts, coupled with the current SNAP negotiations, threaten the well-being of struggling American families.
Although the sequester itself protects several key anti-poverty programs such as Social Security and Medicaid, sequestration is only one part of current budget negotiations. As Congress considers all options in how to address our deficit and craft a new budget, funding for these and other safety net programs could be threatened.
Our Jewish tradition teaches us that poverty is the greatest issue facing our society: “…If all the troubles of the world are assembled on one side and poverty is on the other, poverty would outweigh them all” (Midrash Exodus Rabbah 31:12). The budget is a moral document, reflecting the priorities of our community. Urge your Members of Congress to prioritize those most in need by protecting anti-poverty programs that support our low-income families.