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Maine Religious Leaders Worry House Farm Bill Could Increase Food Insecurity

Nora Flaherty
Maine Public
Maine religious leaders gather in Portland Tuesday to urge Maine Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin to reject the House farm bill.

Maine faith leaders Tuesday gathered at Wayside Food Programs, a charitable food distribution center in Portland, to urge Maine's congressional representatives to reject the House farm bill.

The bill includes new work requirements and other changes that would make it harder for many people to access the SNAP program, generally known as food stamps.

The Rev. Jim Gertmenian said that while Maine's U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin have both made their positions known — Pingree is against the bill, and Poliquin is for it — he's calling on Poliquin to change.

"You can be better than this. Please stand up and do what is right," he said.

A study by Good Shepherd Food Bank and Preble Street found that Maine has the third highest rate of food insecurity in the U.S.

The current farm bill expires at the end of September. The Senate hasn't yet presented its version, and the two would have to be reconciled before the bill could become law.