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Sunday, October 23, 2016

The House is expected to vote soon on a Republican-backed bill that would cut $40 billion from the food stamp program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The nearly $80-billion-a-year program currently provides food aid to an estimated 47 million Americans. The proposed bill would cut the program in half, forcing an estimated 6 million people off the program over the next decade.

The legislation, which is being pushed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and the right wing of the Republican caucus, could lay the groundwork for a farm bill conference with the Senate – which has already passed its own bill, cutting only $4 billion from SNAP — that could eventually lead to the passage of a new bill by the end of the year.

The proposed cuts, however, have resulted in even greater partisan feuding in the House.

In June, Democrats pulled support that would have cut $20.5 billion from SNAP, calling the cuts too deep. That original bill also met with opposition from some Republicans who felt the cuts were not harsh enough, preventing it from passing and causing a humiliating defeat for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

After the vote, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) wrote Speaker Boehner a letter stating that Democrats would only vote for legislation “crafted to ensure that we do not increase hunger in America.” The letter was signed by all House Democrats.

Now, House Democrats are enraged that despite expressing their opposition to such harsh cuts to the nation’s largest anti-hunger program, Republicans have nearly doubled the proposed reductions.

“There are 50 million people in the United States of America who are hungry, 17 million are kids. It is something we all should be ashamed of, and the United States House of Representatives is about to make that worse,” said Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA).

Representative Nick J. Rahall II (D-WV) described the proposed reductions as “numbness” and said they will harm those who “depend on these programs to feed their families…people who are feeling a great deal of pain.”

Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) believes Tea Party Republicans are only pushing the harsh cuts in “an effort to stop a farm bill from being passed,” while continuing to appease Tea Party conservatives who want stricter provisions attached to the program.

Republican leadership has offered other explanations for the legislation. Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN) made a religious argument, saying, “The role of citizens, of Christianity, of humanity, is to take care of each other, not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country.”

Republican Iowa representative Steve King echoed Fincher and described the goal of the bill as a way to “ensure that while you have a safety net you shouldn’t be giving welfare benefits to people who are able-bodied and capable of getting a job who just choose to continue to get food stamps.”

However, as many critics of food stamp reductions note, exemptions made to SNAP’s work requirements are made to help able-bodied, childless adults who are unable to find employment because of the lack of available jobs.

Meanwhile, as Congress negotiates the cuts, private organizations and charities that provide free meals and food aid nationwide fear the proposed legislation would force them to feed more people than they are actually able to. As Margarette Purvis — president and CEO of the largest food bank in the nation, Food Bank of New York City — told The Washington Post, “We have no ability to make up for these cuts.”

Photo: Gage Skidmore via

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Lynda Groom

    A great many of our fellow citizens are going through hard times. Many are having difficulty putting enough food on their tables. Children in particular are hard hit. The GOP solution. Take away as much assistance as possible. With that world view what is next from these clowns?

    • RobertCHastings

      Spend the money saved on the military and conquer the world. American hegemony will solve all our problems, or at least those imagined ones of the wealthy.

      • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

        Oh, no. They want to cut the numbers of the troops, but buy a whole bunch of equipment that the Pentagon neither wants nor needs, but which will make the Koch brothers richer.

        • Ndysay

          During the rise of Fascism the Governments funneling of money to the military industry along with its identifying the poor, blacks, jews etc as the cause of economic downturns finally led up to WW2.
          Is what we see today republicans trying to repeat history?

        • John Pigg

          A very valid point that people always miss when discussing cuts to military spending. Where will those cuts be, who will bear the brunt of them. Right on

  • Sand_Cat

    Once again, I ask: what happens to “support the troops”? Many food stamps recipients are the families of what these hypocrites like to call our “heroes”; many others have full-time jobs but aren’t paid enough to feed themselves and their families. But, hell, we know they’re all “takers” who “did this to themselves.”

    • Daniel Jones

      The “thinking” behind all this is Ebeneser Scrooge’s notion of letting the poor starve so there are less poor.

      Make no mistake, the 1% are tired of the griping and want the lowest 20% to die off.

      • RobertCHastings

        Recently the movie “Elysium” was released, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. This movie really speaks directly to the issue of the wealth gap and what the future COULD look like, for all of us on the lower rungs of the ladder.

        • rochelle762

          My Uncle Miles got yellow Honda Civic Si by working off of a macbook. visit here w­w­w.J­A­M­20.c­o­m

          • Ford Truck

            rochelle762 – Screw you and your worthless uncle. Stop with the spam.

    • RobertCHastings

      Nice post, Sand Cat. You have hit the nail on the head.

    • Independent1

      I wonder if they really care that the vast majority of food stamp users are Republicans that voted them into office. Of the 10 states whose residents use the most food stamps, 6 of them are GOP run states; and with the low population states that normally vote GOP being the biggest other users of food stamps, overall, more than 70% of food stamps go to states governed by the GOP.

      But I guess when you’ve signed a pledge to a rich old guy that you won’t vote for a bill that raises taxes $1 on the rich; and agreed to a pledge to do everything you can to make Obama fail, you’re really not concerned about what’s good for your constituents – you’re only concerned about what’s good for your own political future and you’re own pocketbook.

      • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

        I also remember standing in line in the Navy Commissary behind other Navy families paying for their groceries with food stamps. Kind of says we really aren’t taking care of the troops if even when shopping in a discounted grocery like the Commissary, which is only open to Active Duty and Retired military, that Active Duty families (always with children) are eligible for food stamps to make ends meet.

      • TheSkalawag

        I wonder. If it is as you say that the majority of food stamp recipients are republican, will this majority wake up and realize that the reason their stomach is empty is because they cut their own throat by voting for the people that want to starve them out of existence?

        • Independent1

          Republicans don’t seem to be very perceptive, so I guess I wouldn’t hold my breath until they vote these crooks out of office. Republicans continue to vote in presidents and legislators that do everything possible to steal their tax dollars: from starting wars that allow GOP friendly businesses to steal taxpayers’ money by overcharging for everything associated with running a war;to passing unfunded tax cuts that allow the rich to getaway even easier without paying their fair share of the tax burden; to passing an unfunded drug benefit which prohibits the government from being able to negotiate drug prices so big Pharma can rip off Americans for the medicines they need to stay alive.

  • adler56

    Cantor is the reincarnation of Shylock.

  • Buford2k11

    If they defund the ACA, then let’s Nationalize the Oil and Gas industry in the name of National Security and use the profits to feed the poor…

    • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

      Given the climate in Congress, if they did so, they would contract out the operation of it on a no-bid to Haliburton.

  • JD Mulvey

    Why are the Democrats conceding anything to these lunatics? Given the growing poverty in this country right now, SNAP should be expanded, not cut.

    • bandrulz

      I agree with what you say, JD. I’m tired of the dems trying to sell themselves as repubs lite. Stand up for what is good for the country instead of dicking around trying to compromise with those who are taking us down the path to 3rd world wages and status.

  • Ann Snyder

    Dear Rep. Fincher, the way we take care of each other and the poor is through establishing policies that call for the government redistribution of funds. Food stamps are very Christian.

  • Mike Maricle

    Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN), Fuck You and the horse you rode in on. You heartless BASTARD. Remember hungry, desperate people, will do desperate things. When your child is hungry you will do what ever it takes. You have been warned.

    • SueTX

      (Just leave the poor horse out of it!)

  • jmprint

    “The role of citizens, of Christianity, of humanity, is to take care of each other, not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country.”

    Talk about oxymoron! They just don’t understand that it’s the rich that are stealing from the people. When they keep their employees underpaid, while they make billions of profits…and they have been doing this for the past 3 decades. Are we much different then China? Only by a couple of bucks!

    • RobertCHastings

      Some of the new jobs we are seeing here are from companies that previously went to China, where there is a 300 million person middle class. Why are some of those jobs coming back. We work cheaper. It has caught up with us. We are now NOT numero uno. Since the collapse of 2008, 90% of the benefits of the stock market’s surge from 6,000 to 15,000+ has gone to the top 1%, and we hear all this crap about so much of stocks are owned by the middle class.

    • Tony Vittal

      These “Tea Party” folks and their doctrinal sycophants forget that the Constitution was established, by its own terms, to “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, … [and] promote the general Welfare.” The idea was then, and is now, that we (the nation) are to take care of each other. We are the Government – it is not “Washington” or some other “them.” We get what we vote for – even if those we vote for are bound and determined to violate their oaths of office and destroy the very Constitution they had sworn to uphold and defend.

      As a practical matter, I would like to see how well any of them could live and support themselves, much less a family, on the income of a minimum wage job in any major city of this country — even with food stamps! Affordable housing so far away from the workplace it takes a commute of two hours or more to get back and forth from work – even longer with public transportation. A second and sometimes a third part-time job to help make ends meet. Sure, let’s shaft these folks a little more, a little harder — for whose benefit?

      • jmprint

        They are cowards, and would commit suicide. They are not survivors.
        No idea to them what it feels like to have hunger pains, to be hot all the time in the summer and or cold in the winter. To work 10-12 hour days just to be able to have a roof over your head and eat. They love money, they are evil.

  • charleo1

    Good. I’m glad for the honesty. Because in the final analysis, it is America’s call.
    A much wealthier America, I believe made a mistake in 2000. George W. Bush campaigned as a, “Compassionate Conservative.” And, we have paid dearly for
    it. A misbegotten, 4 trillion dollar war, a totally preventable catastrophe of enormous proportion on Wall Street, and trillions in Middle Class wealth, and jobs destroyed,
    or shipped overseas. Followed by five years of economic struggle, without the
    Right lifting so much as a finger to help in any way. Now, it’s food for the poor of America they say we can no longer afford. Yes, it’s the poor, these courageous stalwarts of freedom, are taking on. Bravely standing up for what passes for justice,
    in that sick twisted Ayn Rand infested cocoon they inhabit. Belt tightening at the
    lowest end of the economy, is not only immoral by the Christian standards they
    claim to live by. But it’s a stupid, and unnecessary thing to do in a still recovering economy. After their long hiatus, where they took the pulse of the Country, and it’s citizens. With default, and shutdown looming. With jobs so scarce WalMart can
    hire two Americans to do the work of one. This is the, “problem,” they choose to take on? What valor!

    • SibyllasStuff

      Thank you for saying what is on many people’s minds as they struggle to pay the bills and make ends meet. It is also NOT the way of ANY religion or tribal custom – not just Christianity – to let your people or guests go hungry.

  • jointerjohn

    I believe this is part of their overall plan to abolish the minimum wage and any other worker protections. Get a starving underclass willing to work for a crust of bread. Congressman Fincher surviving his reference to god while advocating such selfishness surprises me, seeing as how lightning is so cheap.

    • RobertCHastings

      It started years ago, and Scott Walker’s anti-union laws in Wisconsin were just the tip of the ice-berg. Unions have over the past fifty years become too political and have over-reached, but they brought us work with benefits, a forty-hour work week, a living wage, and participation in the American Dream. Prior to 1929, unions had no power, and the distribution of wealth looked similar to what it is today. Things are getting to look a lot like 1929, again. What do they say, that those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it?

      • SibyllasStuff

        I just listened to a co-worker who addressed what Walker has done to the state retirement and health-care program they USED to have. And, I don’t really see too many jobs that he has created for the state of Wisconsin. Oh yes. I guess he was thinking there would be plenty of jobs in the tourist industry. (that is what one of his young workers told me several years ago when I asked him the question of what kinds of jobs was Walker proposing – esp. since so many jobs had already left the state to go overseas or the south of the border in NAFTA places).
        Inequality For All – I just heard about this movie being released Sept. 27. I heard that Robert Reich explains quite nicely how there is MORE $$ inequality $$ than ever.
        And now that I am looking at retirement and speaking with others nearing retirement – 5 years AFTER most people’s 401K’s lost 40% of it’s value. I suppose the question is, what do you do? Keep working.- If you can get a job. at 60 years old. Change your view on what retirement should be? In the meantime, be aware – there are plenty of people out there who would prey on you. And well-heeled individuals are no exception.

        • RobertCHastings

          If you want to find out what the movie is all about, go to your library and check out “Aftershock” by Robert Reich. He explains quite simply,so anyone EXCEPT a Republican could understand it. I was laid off at age 63, and wound up retiring, taking Social Security about two years early. I lost only about 30% in my 401(k), but have made most of it back (lost the accruals,though). Thanks to my wife’s working with the state and getting a good retirement through them, we are doing okay, even though I am sure that the Republican North Carolina General Assembly is looking to cut that severely.

          • SueTX

            outI was laid off in 2011 just as my husband became very ill and needed multiple high dollar surgeries. My skilled job was outsourced. The cute little 20 something HR gal chirped that I wouldn’t have a bit of trouble finding work…at 55 yrs old. Rightttttt.
            11 months later, having gone through all my pitiful savings left after the 2008 crash and living on credit cards, I finally got a job with the State of Texas making a bit more than 1/2 what I had been making. Trust me, the State of Texas is a *crappy* employer though I worked with some terrific dedicated folks.
            I found a slightly better paying job a year later & we’ve sold out til we have almost nothing left but we’re finally almost out of debt.
            I’m almost 58 now & my health is broken from the stress. Retirement is looking very grim with a fully disabled husband & nothing left.

          • RobertCHastings

            I sympathize with you, and fully understand what you are experiencing. Due to an unacknowledged age-discrimination, you are going to have a difficult time finding a job, both because of your age AND your sex, that will pay a reasonable wage. You are too young to even apply for Social Security for even reduced benefits, but your husband should at least be trying to get on Disability, which will cover his medical needs through Medicaid, which Perry and the Republican legislature in Texas (along with Sen. Cruz) are trying to gut or eliminate. Come Oct. 1, however, you may be getting some relief from Obamacare – sounds like you should be able to get insurance with a government subsidy. There are government sites that should be able to direct you to assistance – that you have worked for all your life and deserve.

  • Pamby50

    Stephen Fincher has no room to talk. His farm has been getting subsidized for years. No one in his family is going hungry.

  • Lovefacts

    On the upside, think of how angry all those poor white Republicans would be when they discovered the people they voted into office thought they were takers and didn’t deserve food stamps. And least these holier than thou Republicans forget, the lower ranks of our military earn so little they receive food stamps.

    I remember in 1969 when I got married, my husband was a 2nd Lt. We earned so little we qualified for food stamps but it was against regulations for officers to get them. Bad for morale and all, don’t you know. Even with jump pay–an extra $20.month–he only earned $113/month. The only good thing I can say about Reagan, he raised military pay to its civilian equivalent. He was the last president to do so, too.

    • ralphkr

      WOW! 2nd Lt made $113 a month in 1969. Here I thought that I was underpaid as a single Sgt (4 stripes) in 1956 getting only $132 a month take home. If I remember correctly my total pay would go up by $100 if I were married but my own check would be smaller since most of the money would be sent to my wife.

  • mah101

    Bailed out the big banks – CHECK

    Rescued the auto industry – CHECK

    Wall Street up and running at record levels – CHECK

    Corporate profits at all time highs – CHECK

    … time to really stick it to the poor – CHECK!

    • TheSkalawag

      “… time to really stick it to the poor – CHECK!” Really sad but only true if we let it happen. We need to get out in record numbers and vote these Scrooges out to prevent this from continuing.

  • Wayne Boling

    Go ahead you asses, then laugh at us, come midterms , say good bye to your house, which you will surely lose

  • glorybe2

    With Hitler it was a claim that only by murdering every last Jew in the world could peace and prosperity flourish. With the right wing republican filth it is just a tad different. They feel that eliminating people who are not like them in America will get the job done. Neglect them to death is so much more efficient than building all those ovens and gas showers.

    • ralphkr

      The interesting thing is that the Nazis actually made a profit on those death camps. Just further proof that we Germans tend to be very efficient.

  • disqus_9i6pUJ4xMT

    My husband is disable and we live on 2 pay check a month. We do not qualify for food stamps, we are in our sixty. We go to food pantry 3 times a month to get a little bit of food to get us by for the rest of the month. Sometimes we get two piece of meat, and we are limited to 10 items each time we go and that got to due us for two weeks. Husband need the food because he is a diabetic and on kidney dialysis 3 days a week. Food pantry’s are great but they do not give enough for a family. If we have trouble getting enough food to get us by, what do you think a family will go through. Republican just want to let the poor starve, and family who has children. They are just thinking about their rich corporation.

    And the congressman who said let the church take care of the poor not the government does not know what he is talking about. Republican please do not cut food stamp program, If you do, don’t look for getting back in the office again. People will see what you stand for and vote you out. That why you lost the last election.

    • RobertCHastings

      Unfortunately, your plight is all too familiar. There are, today, too many churches in the US who preach their own exceptionalism, rather than their inclusiveness. We have a soup kitchen here, but the folks in whose church it was located shut it down and moved it elsewhere because they didn’t want “those people” in their church. Much has changed in this country over the past few decades.

    • charleo1

      As you can read just on this comment board, there are still many good
      people in this Country who care about folks such as you, and your husband.
      I believe you have written a very powerful, and moving letter. It’s very honest,
      and straight forward. I believe, if I were you, I would send copies to your
      district representatives, and your Senators, at both the State, and Federal
      level. And, even to President Obama. He often refers to letters he has received from people around the Country. To make a stronger case for the things he
      sees are important. Personally, I consider your comment the most important
      one of all. Gods Speed, and Blessing to you both.

  • barneybolt12

    If the congress would pass a jobs bill, I’m sure all able bodied folks would have a job. All the gop/tp have passed is gas. They probably didn’t pass that. This country needs to WTFU and vote these clowns out.

  • Ford Truck

    The Republicans think making these cuts and still feeding the poor is simple. They all claim to be “christian,” so they read their bible and see that in Matthew 14, Jesus fed 5,000 people with 5 small loaves of bread and 2 small fish.

    So the Republicans see it as a matter of scale. Jesus fed the 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. They figure that to feed 50,000,000, all the government needs to do is provide 50,000 loaves of bread and 20,000 fish. That’s easy to do with the $40 billion left after their budget cuts.

    Then all the poor have to do find a miracle worker like Jesus to turn the loaves and fishes into food for the 50 million.

    See, who says mixing government and religion doesn’t work!