So now that your government is back up and running — at least until the next manufactured crisis — wouldn’t it be nice if Congress got to work improving the lives of the people they are ostensibly there to represent? President Obama thinks so, and he’s now urging Congress to take up a new farm bill in an attempt to help millions of Americans who need food assistance.
Prior to the shutdown, House Republicans voted on a farm bill that absolutely gutted the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, which is designed to help the poorest among us keep putting food on their tables. Often called “food stamps,” it has long been a thorn in the side of social conservatives who see any attempt of it as just one more example of governmental overreach that gets people “addicted” to government. Of course, there aren’t any studies that back this up, and there aren’t even any studies that show rampant fraud and abuse in the SNAP program. But that didn’t stop them from cutting $40 billion from the program in the farm bill they sent to the Senate, dead on arrival.
In an address he delivered at the White House, Obama urged lawmakers to take up the farm bill again and find a compromise that won’t leave millions of Americans wondering where their next meal is going to come from. According to the president, his idea of a good farm bill is one “that American farmers and ranchers can depend on; one that protects vulnerable children and adults in times of need; one that gives rural communities opportunities to grow and the long-term certainty that they deserve.”
Obama said his preference would be to start by ending the $5 billion payment we make to subsidy farmers, and that “a solid, bipartisan” bill came out of the Senate to do just that. He also reiterated his call to House Republicans to come to the bargaining table.
“If House Republicans have ideas that they think would improve the farm bill, let’s see them,” the president said, adding, “Let’s negotiate. What are we waiting for? Let’s get this done.”
Considering that around 3.8 million people would lose their food assistance under the House GOP’s bill, there is clearly a need to address that shortcoming.
Watch the video from CNN below: