With needy families already feeling the sting of cuts to food stamps, outrage is growing over a Republican push to slash even more from the program, just in time for the holiday season.
Republican lawmakers are on the defensive as the country heads into the holiday season, with cutbacks in food stamps stressing needy families while Congress debates how much more to cut from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). “Which of your constituents do you think should go hungry?” asks a holiday card electronically delivered to members of Congress this week. It points out that the proposed cuts mean “less food and more hunger for millions of low income seniors, veterans, working families with children and disabled Americans.”
At the same time, assistance to farmers, traditionally coupled in the same bill with SNAP, appears to be weathering the GOP’s budget-cutting knife just fine. “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat,” said Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN), invoking the Bible to explain his vote earlier this year to cut food stamps while calling for increased crop subsidies for farmers. His family farm received more than $3.5 million in federal money over the years, making him the poster boy for 33 members of Congress who voted to cut food stamps, a program that helps the least among us, while having no qualms about accepting federal largesse for their farm businesses.
Twenty percent of Fincher’s constituents are on the SNAP program, says Jim Weill, president of Food Research and Action Center, which launched the website with the holiday greeting designed to trigger guilt over who is left behind during these days of plenty. Weill recalls the language of his college days to explain the easy passage of farm subsidies and the mounting resistance to SNAP. The farm part of the bill is “distributional,” he says; food stamps are “re-distributional,” a concept that is toxic in American politics. from: the daily beast … read more here …
Dems Say Boehner Blocking Farm Bill, Wants More Food Stamp Cuts
Source: Mother Jones
Over the past month, the House and Senate have been working to come up with a compromise farm bill—the five-year piece of legislation that funds agriculture and nutrition programs. The main sticking point is the level of cuts to the food stamp program. House Republicans want to cut $40 billion from the program, while the Senate wants to trim $4 billion. Last week, the talks fell apart, and the two sides are fighting over why.
A Democratic aide tells Mother Jones that House Speaker John Boehner shot down several informal compromise farm bill proposals because the food stamps cuts were not deep enough. Boehner’s spokesman denies this.
The Democratic aide says the joint House-Senate panel that is trying to work out a deal presented Boehner with a few proposals that contained food stamps levels close to what the Senate wants. Even though Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.)—the chairman of the House agriculture committee and a top member of the compromise panel—was willing to give a lot of ground to the Senate on food stamps, he says, Boehner rejected the proposals. “Boehner is playing spoiler,” he adds. “That’s why fell apart.”
Another source familiar with the negotiations echoes the Dem aide’s claim, saying that the House leadership has Lucas on a tight leash. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who is on the compromise committee, told Congressional Quarterly the same thing last week. “I’m hearing that the speaker still keeps inserting his people into the process,” and that House members on the farm bill compromise panel “have to go and check with the speaker’s people say they want this and this and this. I hear that’s one of our major problems.”
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