Monday, September 23, 2013

Observations from the Coffee Shop 9.23

Last Thursday, before they even got to voting for a government shutdown, House Republicans reached one of their all too frequent lows when they voted to cut $39 billion from the food stamp program. In effect the richest nation in history voted to let 3 million of its poorest citizens starve. It's easy to put the blame on conservative House Republicans for the simple reason that they were the only ones to vote for the bill. Not one Democrat voted for it and even 15 Republicans voted against it. The bill doesn't literally cut people from the program but uses multiple requirements to do the dirty work.

My personal favorite part of the bill is the rule that allows states to require drug tests before providing assistance. We all know it's those drug addicts buying lobster with their food stamps that are causing the problems. I'll consider such a rule the day someone has to pee in a cup in order to buy a gun. Another part of the bill eliminates a system that lets people receiving other forms of government assistance automatically qualify for food stamps. In simple terms that means millions of unemployed Americans could lose their eligibility.

Jason Kirell is an Afghanistan combat veteran and food stamp recipient who wrote a small piece in The Huffington Post. In it he wrote this:

"Are you fucking kidding me? I didn't risk my life in Afghanistan so I could come back and watch people go hungry in America. I certainly didn't risk it so I could come back and go hungry."

Republicans are always fond of saying support the troops but I suppose that only pertains to troops in a war zone.

notes - You can read a summary of the so-called Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013 here and a complete roll call here.

update - Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee voted to cut food stamps. From 1999 to 2012 his business, Stephen & Lynn Fincher Farms, received $3,483,824 in federal government farm subsidies including $70,574 last year. During debate on the bill Fincher quoted the bible saying "the one who is unwilling to work shall not eat."

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