This is one of those posts that are intended to inform more than to persuade. It’s a pretty safe bet that I don’t need to convince “What’s the Diehl?” readers to care about hungry kids more than agribusiness. If you’re a GOP politician, however, it’s a different story.
I’m referring to the fact that conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a farm bill two days ago that included around $195 billion in subsidies for “farmers” (read: agribusiness) over the next decade while eliminating food stamps and nutrition programs completely, calling them “extraneous.”
The bill – which was introduced with a rule allowing no amendments – passed by a vote of 216-208. No Democrats voted for it, while only 12 Republicans voted against it.
What an obscene, blatantly political move.
It’s questionable whether the two chambers can reconcile their differences and come up with something before current funding runs out in a few weeks.
The bill passed by the Senate back in May included about $4 billion in cuts to food assistance (which I thought at the time was also obscene); if that proposal was a slap in the face for poor people, last Thursday’s move was a huge middle finger to those who are forced to forego medicine and gas and choose between paying the rent/mortgage or putting food on the table.
Here in my state, food assistance for 1.7 million Michiganders is threatened. The number of people in the U.S. who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has continued to grow; last April, 47.5 million were receiving food benefits worth $132.46/month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (As I’ve shared before, Anita and I spend twice that much to feed our six-person family each week.) That’s about 15 percent of the population, or one in seven Americans. Of those, 47 percent are children under 18 and eight percent are seniors.
Yes, you read that correctly. Almost half of those who depend on food stamps are kids.
Things seem to just keep getting worse and worse. And if this revelation of what today’s Republican Party is all about doesn’t motivate people to go to the polls and boot these callous pricks out of office, I don’t know what will.
Click here to read, “House Republicans Punish Their Own States by Eliminating Food Stamp Program (with chart),” July 12, 2013. Click here to read, “Yes, You Should Be Totally Outraged by the Farm Bill,” July 12, 2013. And click here to read, “Snap to It, Congress! Stop Spending So Much to Feed the Hungry!,” June 1, 2013.
Sources: AddictingInfo.org, Washington Post, Detroit News, The Atlantic.