Saturday, October 29, 2005

House panel votes $844 mln cut in food stamps

Pardon the profanity, but Jesus Christ, I'm angry enough to kill. The Republicans, doing what they do best, want to keep the fucking tax cuts for the wealthy, but cut food stamps for those who have no fucking money. ESPECIALLY after the Hurricane Season we've had. Sneaky fucking bastards. Take advantage of Fitzmas to slip this shit in under the radar. And where is the media on this? Nowhere. I only just learned about it this morning.

Also, I grew up in the Harrisonburg area, where Bob Goodlatte is headquartered. That he would say this when his own constituency will be so hard-hit by this is unsconsionable:

"Agriculture Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte defended the decision, saying only a sliver of food stamp spending was affected and, for the most part, the cuts would eliminate people not truly eligible."

Once upon a time I voted for you, you fucking asshole. You weren't always like that; once upon a time, you helped my wife get into this country, though you probably don't remember it. And now you spit on the people who put you there. Nice.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - On a party-line vote, a Republican-run U.S. House of Representatives committee voted to cut food stamps by $844 million on Friday, just hours after a new government report showed more Americans are struggling to put food on the table.

About 300,000 Americans would lose benefits due to tighter eligibility rules for food stamps, the major U.S. antihunger program, under the House plan. The cuts would be part of $3.7 billion pared from Agriculture Department programs over five years as part of government-wide spending reductions.

Agriculture Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte defended the decision, saying only a sliver of food stamp spending was affected and, for the most part, the cuts would eliminate people not truly eligible.

"This is not a giveaway program that results in windfall profits," said North Carolina Democrat G.K. Butterfield in opposing the cuts. "That is not moral. That is not American."

Antihunger activists said hunger rates were up for the fifth year in a row, so the cuts were a mistake.

"It is hard to imagine any congressional action that is more detached from reality," said James Weill of the Food Research and Action Center.

"Cutting food stamps now is a scandal," said David Beckman of Bread for the World, pointing to losses from hurricanes.

Approved 25-20, the committee package now will become part of an omnibus budget-cutting bill.

The House plan would also cut U.S. crop supports by $1 billion, land stewardship by $760 million, research by $620 million and rural development by $446 million.

The Senate's budget reduction plan would not touch food stamps, but would cut $3 billion from other USDA programs.

On food stamps, the House committee agreed to require immigrants to wait seven years, instead of the current five, to apply for aid. That would affect an estimated 70,000 people.

It also would deny food stamps to people who automatically get food stamps because they receive help through other welfare programs but whose income is above food stamp levels. About 225,000 people fall in that category.

North Dakota Democrat Earl Pomeroy complained that 40,000 children would lose free meals at school because of that provision.

"You have not even come clean that kids are going to lose school breakfast and school lunch under this," he said.

Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, said states unfairly "have taken the opportunity to expand food stamp eligibility" beyond what the federal government intended. Democrat John Barrow of Georgia said Goodlatte was punishing states for using welfare reform laws to respond to local needs.

A new Agriculture Department report found 38.2 million Americans "were food insecure" in 2004, an increase of nearly 2 million from the previous year. Tufts University food economist Parke Wilde food insecurity "now equals the worst levels" since recordkeeping began a decade ago.

USDA said 11.9 percent of households, "at some time during the year, had difficulty providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources."

Food stamps help poor Americans buy food. About 25 million people get food stamps monthly.

The USDA had an overall budget of about $85 billion in fiscal 2005. Food stamps and other nutrition programs for the poor accounted for about $51 billion, with the remainder going to crop subsidies for farmers, food aid to foreign countries, farmland conservation, meat plant inspections and other farm-related programs.

Posted by crimnos @ 1:11 PM

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Yeah, this just turned my stomach. I didn't know where to get the sources, but I'd bet that if you went out and found ten of the top earners in the country, Bill Gates, the Waltons, etc, and added up their "Bush tax breaks" it would amount to that $884 million.

Even if it wasn't ten, even if it was twenty or thirty, or a hundred, it would show the priorites of this administration.

"Bush wanted to give these hundred(?) people tax cuts while cutting off food to over three hundred thousand."

Hope this makes sense. I share your disgust.

Posted by Blogger mikevotes @ 3:36 PM #

Yep, I'm with you on that. I want to do a larger expose on this. Perhaps I'll have the time tomorrow.

Posted by Blogger crimnos @ 4:42 PM #

If I remember right, the first year of the tax breaks, Bill Gates was gonna save something like $32 million. Just from memory, but it was cited as an estimated example from somebody on the left.

I'll bet somewhere out there, there is a think tank/ policy place that was against those tax cuts and has some pretty jaw dropping stats from when they were up for vote.

But, yeah, three hundred thousand, assuming an even distribution by population, probably not true, probably more centered in urban areas, but assuming an even distribution means there will be thirty five hundred people in my city of Houston alone. That's a small town.

And I would wager it's probably a good bit higher becuase of the urban nature of the city, and the higher than average percentage of hispanic immigrants.

Again working on Houston as 1% of US population, 1/3 of Bill gates tax cut would cover that small town.

But I'm sure his tax cut money will "trickle down." Gates gets the bread, now they're taking away the crumbs.

Sorry. This gets under my skin, too.


Posted by Blogger mikevotes @ 10:13 PM #
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