William Crandell: Fighting for food stampsPublished 4:28pm Wednesday, July 17, 2013
By William Crandell, The Democratic Voice
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a farm bill that protects billions of dollars in subsidies to big corporate agriculture, but does not provide funding for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamp program.
If Congress does not take action to provide for the SNAP program, in six weeks 47.5 million Americans (1.7 million of them here in Michigan) will no longer get the help that they need to survive in this struggling economy.
The GOP-led congress is claiming they will address the subject at a later date but this is just another transparent method to isolate the issue and force the Democratic-led Senate and President Obama to accept some sort of last-minute compromise that will be harmful to struggling Americans who need those benefits just to survive. This brinkmanship is not good politics, but truly destructive to the mindset of this country.
The Senate has already passed its version of a farm bill sponsored by Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow that will cut about $4 billion of wasteful spending from the SNAP program, and is also designed to continue to help people who are in need. The senate bill currently has the support of the president and, if passed by congress, would be signed into law. But the Tea Party members of the House want to cut $20 billion across the board, which will basically gut the program. It also includes cutting the funding to local food banks. This will leave millions of Americans with nowhere to turn for their next meal.
Nearly half of those who receive food stamp assistance are children and 10 percent are low-income seniors. It is the most powerless and vulnerable of our society that will suffer the most from these draconian cuts.
For the past three years, the Tea Party Republicans in Washington have actively sought to destroy the social programs that would help the impoverished of our nation and many of them are already suffering from the affects of the recent sequestration cuts. They appear to only be focused on passing laws that are punitive and motivated not on facts, but on racism and ugly stereotypes. They view food stamp recipients as lazy and only wanting a handout and they audaciously state that by cutting the funding they are giving people a hand up. But the truth is they feel it is more important to pander to their spiteful base and to concern themselves with their chances for re-election than in doing the right thing for the people of this nation.
I remember my grandfather telling stories of the bread lines of the ‘30s and how the Republicans chose to do nothing when the Depression hit.
It seems as if the GOP wants those good old days to return.
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