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I am writing in response to your coverage of the new president and Congress. Politicians often vow to stand up and defend the interests of ordinary Americans who feel left behind by deepening economic inequality but actions speak louder than words.

Almost one in seven Americans still live below the poverty line in this country. However, anti-poverty policies are making an impact, reducing the poverty rate by half. SNAP, for example, serves as a lifeline to 43 million people, nearly half of them children. It's truly puzzling that some members of Congress are preparing to attack key pillars of our safety net programs: programs their constituents depend on to survive, like SNAP and Medicaid.

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Now more than ever, we need to focus on helping hardworking people across the country make ends meet, not put up roadblocks in their way. We must stand up against schemes to undermine the effectiveness of anti-poverty health and nutrition programs via structural changes such as "block grants," and efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. I hope we can count on our elected officials to reject any proposals that undo what we know works.

Shams Al-Badry, Lincoln

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