See video: Himes opposes proposed cuts in food stamps

Congressman Jim Himes, whose district includes most of Shelton, has spoken out against a proposed bill that would decrease nearly $40 billion over 10 years from the food stamp program known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Republican-backed H.R. 3102 would cause 2.8 million people to lose food stamps and an additional 85,000 to see their assistance cut.

The GOP bill is designed to lower government spending and to try to stop the growth in the number of food stamp recipients.

Click here to watch the remarks:

Assisting the needy is ‘unconditional’

Himes, a third-term Democrat from Greenwich, said providing nutritional assistance to people with economic challenges should be “unconditional.”

“In my Christian faith, the notion that we feed the hungry is unimpeachable and non-conditional,” Himes said in his remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. “Matthew does not say, ‘Feed the hungry, so long as you can do it with 100% efficiency.’ Mark does not say, ‘Feed the hungry, so long as we pass the XL Pipeline.’ Luke does not say, ‘Feed the hungry, so long as you loosen environmental regulations.’”

Would require work requirements

In addition to cuts in SNAP, Himes said the proposed Republican bill would require states to impose work requirements on parents with young children or lose federal funding for job training programs, and prohibit states from waiving work requirements for certain SNAP recipients when unemployment is high.

Himes said if approved, the bill “will throw millions of Americans off of food stamps at a time when they need it. And I urge that on behalf of my constituent Jeanine Smalls, a 37-year-old formerly homeless veteran with three children whom my office helped get on food stamps.

"I urge it," he continued, "on behalf of a semi-deity to the Republicans, Ronald Reagan, who said, ‘As long as there is one person in the country who is hungry, that is one person too many.’”