US Bishops Remind Congress of the Poor as Farm Bill Goes to Vote

Call for a Just Framework That Puts Hungry People First

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Leaders of five national Catholic organizations, including two chairmen of committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged the U.S. House of Representatives to support a Farm Bill that «provides for poor and hungry people both at home and abroad, offers effective support for those who grow our food, ensures fairness to family farmers and ranchers, and promotes stewardship of the land.»

The appeal came in a June 17 letter signed by Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace.

They were joined by Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, Carolyn Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services, James Ennis, executive director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, and Sheila K. Gilbert, president of the National Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

The letter protested $20 billion in proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, citing «continued high unemployment and a struggling economy."

As the House of Representatives prepares to vote this week on the 2013 Farm Bill, the leaders asked legislators to make priorities for poor and hungry people at home and abroad, conservation and rural development. «This is a crucial time to build a more just framework that puts poor and hungry people first, serves small and moderate-sized family farms, promotes sustainable stewardship of the land and helps vulnerable farmers and rural communities both at home and in developing countries,» they wrote.

The full letter is available online:

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