The Ohio Association of Foodbanks is sounding the alarm over the budget bill and tax cuts currently being pushed by the Republican majority in U.S. Congress, saying they threaten longstanding, proven programs that serve tens of millions of vulnerable Americans.

A statement from Ohio Association of Foodbanks Executive Director Lisa Hamler-Fugitt Friday morning said that with the passage Thursday of the GOP budget bill Ohio Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman joined his GOP colleagues to set in motion a process for tax ‘reform’ that would give 80 percent of its tax cuts to the wealthiest 1 percent of households and increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion.

Hamler-Fugitt questions what this will mean for the 20 million children in our country that count on basic food aid from SNAP (food stamps), or the 6 million low-income seniors who rely on Medicaid for long-term care and home- and community-based services, or the families caring for children with disabilities who face severe hardships and struggle to meet basic needs.

“We simply cannot dramatically decrease revenues, dramatically increase our deficit and still maintain basic income supports for millions of our most vulnerable citizens,” she said in a statement. “The math doesn’t add up.”

Hamler-Fugitt noted that President Donald Trump and Republican U.S. House leaders have already passed budget plans that would slash SNAP benefits by 40 percent over ten years, cut SSI for low-income families with children with disabilities who already struggle to get by, and cut Medicaid by up to half, among many other harmful things.

“They have forecasted what tax ‘reform’ would mean for the tens of millions of people served by organizations like ours across the country: pain,” she said. “Our country already has policies that work. Thanks to slow but steady recovery over the past several years, poverty rates are finally edging downward, median household incomes are finally climbing upward and Americans are no longer living under the threat of crippling medical debt and bankruptcy from lifetime caps or preexisting conditions.”

Ohio’s congressional delegation has a responsibility to the hardworking families that they represent, Hamler-Fugitt said.

“Protect basic lifelines like SNAP, tax credits like the EITC and Child Tax Credit for low-income families and Medicaid,” she implored. “Pay for tax cuts by closing loopholes and making responsible changes, not by adding to deficits or by forcing immediate or future cuts to the programs that have helped millions of Americans throughout the recovery.”

Last year, the Ohio Association of Foodbanks gave basic groceries – usually three to five days’ worth – to seniors nearly 1.7 million times, she said.

“Just picture that,” she said. “1.7 million times, a senior in Ohio was forced to come to a food pantry because they couldn’t afford enough food on their own. How will tax cuts for the wealthy help them? Who should our programs and policies really be serving?”