SNAP is a program that works and is fiscally sustainable. Error rates and fraud are at historically low levels, and this program provides economic stimulus to communities throughout our country. Economists estimate that every dollar spent on SNAP benefits created a $1.79 ripple effect in our local economy during the recession. A recent report found that SNAP actually lifted 8 percent of families out of poverty during the worst of the economic downturn.

So why is Congress debating whether to sever this lifeline needed by so many in this country? The recently passed House budget proposal would slash SNAP funding by $133.5 billion, or 17 percent over ten years, as well as remove the program’s ability to respond to unforeseen need. This proposal is contrary to very values we hold as Americans, and how we treat those most in need.

Our foundation as a country was based on the premise of promoting the general welfare for our citizens. Our government has made a commitment to fostering the equality of opportunity, so that every citizen has the chance to compete on a level playing field. Hunger undercuts that commitment by depressing student achievement, lowering worker productivity, and increasing health care costs for too many Americans. Unfortunately, many in Washington refuse to acknowledge the importance of this life saving, stop gap program, and how it is essential to providing the means necessary for our future generation to succeed.

Now is the time to invest in proven programs like SNAP, not increase hunger by balancing our books on the most vulnerable. Any cuts to SNAP in the budget process will burden hungry families at a time of record need.

Rep. Johnson (D-Texas) represents Texas' 30th Congressional District.