The neglect by Senate Republicans of Americans out of work because of the pandemic is about to compound the misery already out here. Supplemental unemployment benefits expired at the end of July. Even if the additional funding Trump authorized were to materialize, it won’t reach anyone until the end of September. Eviction protections expired and so did supplemental food stamps. 

What do Senate Republicans expect to happen?

In its surveys, the Census Bureau is finding more and more households short of food. The Wall Street Journal reports: “As of late last month, about 12.1% of adults lived in households that didn’t have enough to eat at some point in the previous week, up from 9.8% in early May. And almost 20% of Americans with kids at home couldn’t afford to give their children enough food, up from almost 17% in early June.”

I asked for some perspective on this from Michael J. Wilson, who as director of Maryland Hunger Solutions is much closer to the food and nutrition problem than any of the aid-averse Republicans who proposed not an additional dollar of food stamp (SNAP) assistance in the second round of COVID-related aid.

“It’s hard to understand why when we are still in the midst of the worst economy since the Great Depression, the federal government isn’t doing all that it can — and all that we did just a few short months ago — to ensure that folks have access to the federal nutrition programs that feed families, and that help mend the economy. 

The pandemic emergency is not over, the job is not finished.

— Michael J. Wilson

“It’s equally hard to fathom why, when school districts are struggling to send kids back to school as safely as possible, the USDA is not utilizing the same waivers and programs that they utilized so successfully in the spring and summer.

“The pandemic emergency is not over and the job is not finished.”

I asked how those of us who have the means could help.

“As for where to contribute, the Maryland Food Bank or any local pantry — they are all strapped right now. We’ll also accept contributions for our SNAP outreach and advocacy work. 

“But keep in mind: There are over 844,000 Marylanders utilizing SNAP right now. There is no amount of charity that can provide 844,000 meals three times a day in this state. The federal SNAP program, plus school meals and the Women’s Infants and Children program, are the most efficient way to feed folks who are eligible for benefits. That’s what our government is for. To help all of us when we need help.”

That’s why we need a new government. Trump and the Republicans stand there, blocking assistance for millions of lower-income Americans who are out of work through no fault of their own. They would be ashamed of themselves if they had any shame.

3 thoughts on “Are Republicans just going to let Americans go hungry?

  1. Chef Jose Andres is doing all he can to feed people here, and across the states, and in other countries. Along with supporting our Maryland Food Bank, we can support World Central Kitchen. They show up everywhere.

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  2. Correction. There are actually 844,000 Marylanders who are participating in SNAP as of June of 2020. In spite of the great work of the Maryland Food Bank, World Central Kitchen and Chef Jose Andres, this is more meals than they can provide in a day. It’s almost a million people — in Maryland alone.

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