House Republicans Vote to Slash “SNAP” Food Assistance for Poor

ebt-cuts-oh-snap-marty-two-bullsWASHINGTON — While most agree that additional food stamp cuts will significantly worsen hunger problems, House Republicans cold heartedly pushed through a bill on Thursday that slashes 40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The vote was 217 to 210, largely along party lines.

House Democrats objected over the cuts and President Obama threatened to veto the legislation if it comes to his desk. Republican House members from Tennessee argue that the program has enough waste to justify large-scale reductions. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, said the larger cuts could be made “without significantly impacting those most in need of food security.” Other Republicans across Tennessee who voted for the cuts attempted to say they supported SNAP but not the waste in the program.

The legislation passed does not address any “GOP claimed” waste in the program. The legislation had more to do with a GOP response to pressure from Tea Party-backed conservatives who see any public assistance to those in need as wasteful spending.

But Democrats, many of whom held up pictures of people they said would lose their benefits, called the cuts draconian and said the legislation would plunge millions into poverty.

The bill, written under the direction of the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, would cut $40 billion from the food stamp program over the next 10 years. The bill was one of the most heartless bills to come to the floor for a vote in memory.

The future of food stamps — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — remains the big sticking point in House-Senate negotiations to finalize a new farm bill before the end of the year.

In September, the House approved a farm bill that cuts almost $40 billion from food stamps over 10 years — about 5 percent a year. The Senate earlier approved a bill that would cut $4 billion over that time.

The cuts would be in addition to the expiration of some benefits that occurred in November. Those had been part of the 2009 economic stimulus package that ended on November 1.

At $80 billion a year, food stamps remain the single costliest item in the farm bill. The program serves almost 48 million Americans and 1.34 million Tennesseans — about 20 percent of the state population.

Among House members from Tennessee, all but Reps. Jim Cooper of Nashville and Steve Cohen of Memphis — the two Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation — voted for the bill making $40 billion in cuts.

Implementation of this bill will result in denying benefits to 3.8 million low-income Americans in 2014.

“Those who would be thrown off the program include some of the nation’s most destitute adults, as well as many low-income children, seniors and families that work for low wages,” the CBPP said in an analysis of the House bill. “The House SNAP bill is harsh.”

Fortunately, the measure has little chance of passing the Senate.

The SNAP program was created in 1964 in an effort to end hunger in the United States. Conservatives and Republicans have never supported SNAP and see assistance to the poor as wasteful. Now, corporate welfare is another story… it is the kind of assistance [for the rich] that they support. When you confront them about the hypocrisy , they scream “class warfare”, as a smoke screen to their greed.

Sadly, it is class warfare… on the middle class and poor.




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