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Outrage: Farm Bill Will Cut Food Stamps By 1%!

From an outraged Associated Press:

Farm bill deal would cut food stamps by 1 percent

By MARY CLARE JALONICK [sic] | January 28, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Farm-state lawmakers are pushing for final passage of the massive, five-year farm bill as it heads to the House floor Wednesday — member by member, vote by vote.

There are goodies scattered through the bill for members from all regions of the country… There are cuts to the food stamp program — $800 million a year, or around 1 percent — for Republicans who say the program is spending too much money, but they are low enough that some Democrats will support them..

A bill the House passed in September with strong conservative support would have made even larger cuts to the program…

The headline and the above sentence are blatantly untrue. There are no real cuts to food stamps in this bill. And there were no cuts in the September bill. (See the article from Reason Magazine below.)

The final food stamp savings are generated by making it more difficult for states to give recipients a minimal amount of heating assistance in order to trigger higher food stamp benefits. The cuts were brought down to $800 million a year to come closer to the Senate version of the bill, which had $400 million in annual food stamp cuts…

As the Washington Post reported back on January 8th, all this means is that a dozen states and DC currently give people food stamps just to allow them to qualify for heating assistance. Even people who live in apartments and who don’t pay for their own heat.

And this bill would put an end to that payment, which would save the federal government $9 billion over ten years. But the states and DC will still be mandated to cover anyone who still actually needs this heating assistance. So, in reality, nothing is being cut. Least of all food stamps.

Despite [Democrat] opposition, Boehner and Cantor are hoping to corral enough votes to get the bill done… The legislation would "extend these important agriculture programs, achieve deficit reduction, and help give many Americans an opportunity to achieve independence and get back to work," he said…

How come there is never any talk of restoring the work requirements for food stamps, which Obama quiestly removed as part of his 2009 Stimulus Package? Wouldn’t that help lower the costs of food stamps and help get people back to work? It was the ‘law of the land’ until Obama changed it with an executive action. Why can’t it be brought back?

Meanwhile, none of these cuts are really cuts anyway, as Reason Magazine explained back in September:

GOP Food Stamp Bill Will Increase Government Spending

By Ira Stoll | September 23, 2013

The food stamp bill passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives earlier this month, widely criticized for supposedly cutting the nutrition assistance program to the poor, would actually raise spending over the next decade by 57 percent, to $725 billion from the $461.7 billion that was spent on the program in the last decade.

No sooner had the House voted, 217 to 2010, on September 19 to pass the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act than the usual suspects were rushing to portray the measure as stingy and coldhearted. “House Republicans Pass Deep Cuts in Food Stamps,” was the headline  in The New York Times national news section. The Republican “war on food stamps” shows that the congressmen are “meanspirited class warriors,” wrote  Nobel laureate Paul Krugman…

Alas, the episode says more about the quality of Republican communications (poor) and of the press (often shallow and reflexively hostile to Republicans) than it does about what would actually happen to food stamps under the 110-page bill the House passed.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the House bill would spend $725 billion on food stamps over the years 2014 to 2023…

This is a great example of how and why it is so difficult to cut government spending, and how warped the debate over spending has become. The Republicans want to increase food stamp spending 57 percent. The Democrats had previously planned to increase it by 65 percent (to $764 billion over 10 years instead of the $725 billion in the Republican bill), so they depict the Republicans as “meanspirited class warriors” seeking “deep cuts.” …

And this current bill is undoubtedly somewhere between those two numbers, And probably much closer to what the Democrats wanted.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, January 28th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Outrage: Farm Bill Will Cut Food Stamps By 1%!”

  1. I’m shocked

    (not really)


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