The Republicans are up to their old tricks again.
Republicans want to cut funding and change the rules for people receiving food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). They want to do it so they can continue to fund the Defense Department at extraordinarily high levels. Wish I could say I’m surprised, but are any of us really shocked by this?
GOP Congressional leaders are hoping to either cut funding in the upcoming Department of Agriculture budget or make it more difficult for recipients to receive SNAP benefits if they are also enrolled in another assistance program or receive “other benefits” from the government. Those “benefits” could be defined as something as simple as a pamphlet on nutrition. Yep, you read that correctly. Getting a pamphlet might mean you lose your food stamps or have them reduced.
Attempting to defend the heartlessness of cuts to a program that mainly benefits children, the elderly, and the working poor, Texas Republican Congressman Jeff Conaway remarked:
“A family that depends on their own work is more secure. There’s a dignity in taking care of yourself.”
There is also a certain dignity in making sure you and your family don’t starve to death, Congressman Conaway.
The greatest irony of diverting money from food stamps to increase what is given to the military–robbing Peter to pay Paul as my grandmother called it–is that active duty military members redeem $100 million in SNAP benefits a year. That means some 25% of our fighting men and women rely on food stamps so they can make ends meet.
Democrats say they will fight any cuts or program changes. Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, a member of the Agriculture Committee, vowed:
“We cannot balance the budget on the backs of poor people.”
In the meantime, Republicans will probably seek to devise new ways of denying eligible Americans the benefits their tax dollars have helped to support. Just another day in the GOP-controlled Congress. Another day, another needy person given the shaft.