A new farm bill fight is brewing on the hill and once again and Congress is looking to the most vulnerable Americans to shoulder the brunt of the burden.
Since 2009, “compromise” has been a word bandied about in both pleading and accusatory tones throughout the halls of power. Whether one side is desperate to compromise with the other, or is damning the other for their refusal to do so, the efforts (if one can call them that) for the bitterly divided congress to come together to do the people’s business have often appeared to be more a dog and pony show than a genuine and concerted attempt to get to work.
And thus, they have once again come to a stalemate which stands to endanger upwards of 1.7 million already hurting Americans by cutting the right’s favorite whipping boy; food stamps.
Presently, families and households which qualify for LIHEAP benefits who also receive help from SNAP can qualify for an increase in their nutritional food assistance. While this need based increase in program assistance is designed to ensure that Americans in need receive all of the help they require, Republicans and many Democrats in Congress are now attempting to paint this as a “loophole” in need of closing.
The efforts to re-brand what is both a marginal and effectively vital adjustment in public services between program requirements, comes amid the growing fight over the farm bill presently before the House. The bill, which will serve to provide subsidies to farms large and small throughout the country, has come under considerable criticism as both deficit hawks on the right and those opposed to subsidies and safety nets for businesses on the Left have called into question the validity and rationale behind offering publicly funded crop insurance plans, as well as cash handouts to farmers.
In July, Congress passed a similar farm bill which extended generous subsidies to the agriculture industry, while also funding to SNAP. This was the first time in fifty years such a cut had been made and members of Congress (many of whom received such subsidies themselves) had promised to revisit the issue later on.
If the present “compromise” is accepted and passed, upwards of 850,000 households could lose up to $90 a month in their SNAP assistance, while billions in crop insurance (of which tax-payers financed 62% on average of in 2012) are diverted to Wall Street financiers and speculators.
h/t: Daily Kos