Thomas Roberts | October 31, 2013
>>> the hunger cliff, it's a term being used to describe the latest hunger crisis because tomorrow 47 million americans who are barely getting by on food stamps every month will go over it, and there is nothing that anyone can do about it it. the automatic cuts of the 15% will mean 24 fewer meals a month for a family of three. so what happens when those already struggling on food stamps face more uncertainty? they're forced to turn to other resources. my colleague recently visited a food pantry in queen, new york, and and says how dire her situation is about to become.
>> many of those without a job. elizabeth ferreira is a single mother with a masters degree .
>> i need the food pantry in order to survive and feed my three children because it's really hard to get a job out there, even though i have all of the qualifications they still don't hire people.
>> teresa abdul has to stay home to take care of her disabled 15-year-old daughter.
>> my 6-year-old sometimes she tells me she's hungry, sxri nothing to give her so it's very hard. you know, when you just have milk and you have to warm it and give it to a child who is 6 and the next morning she goes to school without food.
>> joining me now is congresswoman barbara lee , a democrat from california. you've been very honest and forthright about your own past having survived on food stamps and you know exactly what these people are feeling and going through. what do you say to republican colleagues who seem to have fall own deaf ears when it comes to the millions of americans which a good number of them happen to be children and the working poor . what do you say to them tomorrow?
>> what i say to them is, first of all, it's a moral disgrace. this is not the american way . people deserve to eat. many people go through challenges in their lives. the majority of people on food stamp benefits actually are working. they're part of the working poor . they're making $7 to $8 an hour, mind you, and so until we create job, real jobs and pass some of the president's jobs bills and create workforce training opportunities for people. people need that bridge over troubled water , and so i say to them, this is not the american way , and they need to get with it because there are people in their districts in rural, you are an and suburban communities who will feel such desperate pain tomorrow and that's when both sides of the aisle meant to hamper out the long-delayed house bill and that calls for $39 billion cut to the food stamp program , but it reinstates the work requirement that could force $3 million recipients to the program and it will call for less drastic cut and many are saying that the fact that lawmakers got together that that's a decent and good sign, but how worried should those who rely on food stamps be. and where they stand as a marginalized and maybe underrepresented society in washington, d.c., for our elected leaders.
>> i'm very worried. first of all, the $29 billion cut and the $4 billion cuts, we have two phenomenal leaders on the congressman committee, congresswoman marcia fudge from ohio and the congressman from massachusetts who are fighting the good fight on that committee, but in addition to the cuts you have these onerous work requirements. come on, thomas. the jobs aren't there. we have to create jobs, and as i said earlier, people who are working they need a living wage, they can't survive off of $7 or $8 an hour without medicaid and without snap benefits and so i am very worried and i hope the country wakes up. i know the the faith community is concerned and this is the least of those that we're talking about those and for those who care about american values and who have any semblance of a moral center, they need to let the conference committee know that this is unacceptable.
>> congresswoman, there are a lot of people that would promote their moral center on the right and they use their moral center to promote themselves and then they use the same lines of saying that these people are takers, not makers.
>> but that's just not true.
>> but that's just not true. i know that for a fact. when you look also at the economic benefits of s.n.a.p., for every dollar spent on s.n.a.p. benefits we are getting $1.70 on economic growth . it impacts grocery stores and farmers and it impacts the entire economy. they need to get with it. they need to stop being so mean spirited because that's what it is and they're demonizing low income people. they're demonizing women when in fact, they should be trying to work to find opportunities to fund workforce training, education and to create jobs so that everyone can live the american dream . americans deserve that.
>> congresswoman barbara lee of california. thank you for your time.
>> my pleasure.
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