On September 18, 2013 Rep. William Enyart of Illinois asked for and was granted permission to address the United States House of Representatives for 5 minutes regarding an important issue dealing with veterans and poverty in America.
“Mr. Speaker, during the 35 years I spent in the military, it was my privilege to lead the outstanding men and women in our Armed Forces. Many are still serving today. They served with honor and distinction, yet here we are talking about treating the lowest paid of them like second-class citizens, unworthy of basic assistance in these difficult times.”
“I was elected to Congress to represent everyone in the 12th Congressional District of Illinois. I represent the poorest county in the State of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, 100,000 people in my district, most of them children or seniors, live below the poverty line. My district has a higher proportion of veterans than any other district in this State”, he said.
“I answer to Active Duty military and veterans who rely on SNAP benefits to make ends meet. They exist in my district and in every district represented in this House. Mr. Speaker, does anyone in this Chamber wish to tell them that in this hour of need, their country is turning its back on them? Who among us wants to decide which of these veterans deserve assistance and which do not? I know I don’t. According to the Census Bureau, about 7 percent of people who report prior military service also report receiving SNAP benefits. Census data indicates that some 1.5 million households with a veteran are receiving SNAP benefits”, said Rep. Enyart (source: Congressional Record http://thomas.loc.gov/).
Rep. Enyart serves on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture.