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Dems Lash Out at GOP After Narrow Food-Stamp Reform Victory

Senator says bill "abandons the moral principles our country is built on," but proponents say it returns program to its true intention.

by
Bridget Johnson

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September 19, 2013 - 5:25 pm
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WASHINGTON — Democrats accused Republicans of starving children, veterans, and seniors with the passage of a bill to reform the food stamp program to the tune of $39 billion in savings.

The Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act hit the House floor for a vote today under a sharply worded veto threat from the White House.

“The bill would result in millions of Americans losing access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is one of our nation’s strongest defenses against hunger and poverty,” the Office of Management and Budget said on Wednesday. “These cuts would affect a broad array of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet, including working families with children, senior citizens, veterans, and adults who are still looking for work. Slashing SNAP also weakens our nation’s farm and rural economies.”

The bill tries to rein in food stamp spending that has doubled over the course of the Obama presidency to nearly $80 billion each year.

In the first SNAP reforms since 1996′s Welfare Reform Act, it caps work-requirement waivers, closes loopholes where recipients could get benefits from multiple states, ensures illegal immigrants and lottery winners are ineligible, allows states to conduct drug testing on SNAP applicants, cracks down on food-stamp fraud at retailers, and more. While cutting in some areas, the legislation reauthorizes food distribution programs to help Indian tribes.

The vote was 217-210 today, with all Democrats who voted opposing the legislation and 15 Republicans also voting against the bill.

The GOP “no” votes came from Reps. Shelly Moore Capito (W.Va.), Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Jeff Fortenberry (Neb.), Chris Gibson (N.Y.), Michael Grimm (N.Y.), Richard Hanna (N.Y.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Peter King (N.Y.), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), Pat Meehan (Pa.), Gary Miller (Calif.), Chris Smith (N.J.), David Valadao (Calif.), Frank Wolf (Va.) and Don Young (Alaska).

Valadao, who represents a chunk of central California’s San Joaquin Valley, said “without this assistance many in my District would be unable to feed their families.”

“I recognize that there are problems with the SNAP program and while I believe reforms to the SNAP Program are necessary to ensure that those who truly need assistance receive it, I do not believe in making drastic changes to this program during a time of such great economic uncertainty without giving states flexibility enforcing proposed requirements,” he continued. “Portions of my district are suffering from more than 30 percent unemployment, making it nearly impossible for many to find work despite their best efforts. It is unfair to the American people for Congress to implement policies containing work requirements when our national economy is severely suffering.”

Republican proponents, though, said the cost-saving reforms are needed now precisely because of the economic crisis.

“An overextended, unchecked SNAP program won’t be capable of serving the citizens it’s purposed to help,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.).

“Consistent with the bipartisan belief that the solution to poverty is found through work, and not just aid, the Nutrition Reform & Work Opportunity Act reinstates Clinton-era SNAP work requirements. These rules stipulate that able-bodied adults with no dependents, must be looking for work, developing job skills, completing community service or obtain employment to draw food stamp benefits,” Foxx added. “Not only will this provision ensure that the truly needy continue to receive aid, it will also help these individuals compete and prepare for jobs.”

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), a driving force behind the bill, said on the House floor that the measure “is designed to give people a hand when they need it most.”

“Most people don’t choose to be on food stamps. Most people want a job. Most people want to go out and be productive so that they can earn a living, so that they can support a family, so that they can have hope for a more prosperous future. They want what we want. There may be some who choose to abuse this system – that’s not out of the realm of possibility – frankly it’s wrong. It’s wrong for hardworking, middle class Americans to pay for that,” Cantor said.

“…The truth is anyone subjected to the work requirements under this bill, who are able-bodied under 50, will not be denied benefits if only they are willing to sign up for the opportunity for work. There is no requirement that jobs exist.”

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
I live in David Valadao's district, and I am all for feeding the children who are hungry. But when the liquor store on the corner has a big banner saying, "We accept EBT!," and the only "fresh" food to be found there is stale bread, spoiled milk, and hotdogs of indeterminate age, there needs to be some kind of reform. I am out of the mood of "assisting" people to live a better lifestyle than my own family has. We are a military family, and we budget carefully and meal-plan for our groceries. My kids never go hungry, but I have to say that, as a family, we are sadly lacking in the tattoo/latest electronics/professional manicure departments.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
How can there be a hunger problem and an obesity epidemic simultaneously in this country?
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I got good $$ that says there are millions of working, unqualified recipients of all sorts of welfare. food stamps are sold all over the place, as are obummer-phones. fraud is where this all started.

destroying our economy is a perk in the crackin' commie-kenyan's eyes. i'd also be willing to bet that someday soon a lot of tax $$ will suddenly come up missing. criminals don't know when to stop. a reckoning is in the wind.

did everybody see where the dem's walked out on the families of the Benghazi victims as they testified today? now that's just classy in anybody's book. //sarcoff// we live among trashy people w/o morals, no doubt.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (26)
All Comments   (26)
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As a married, working father of three that is receiving assistance, I would just like to say thank you to the tax paying citizen.
My family is experiencing the toughest challenges to date. We absolutely could not make ends meet if it weren't for you helping to pay for our medications & food.
Looking forward to ending this phase of dependence but I gotta be realistic and say that we are, for the time being, stuck.
Again, Thank You!
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
reported that in Los Angeles country more than $600 million is being paid in benefits to illegal aliens.

Food stamp usage has increased from 30 million to more than 45 million.

Any control or is this like the prison system where nobody wants to be responsible for reporting changes in income, status etc.'

But what the heck, there are all those people working one and two jobs to make ends meet that can be taxed to death to pay for the waste.

Like that surfer dude that was getting food stamps and thinking he is owed the benefit because he wants to hang out and be a wanna be band member
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I didn't realize that our country was founded on the principle that you could be the wh-ore of the city, get knocked up ten times, and then expect the neighbors to feed the welfare queen's kids while the welfare queen be in da alleyway smoking da crack.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just do away with food stamps, and go back to the old way. A bag of flour, a bag of sugar, can chicken and pork, just like the old days.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
" a broad array of Americans ....".............Another food stamp fraud busted, another Muhammed arrested



http://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/?s=food+stamp+fraud
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...they did not spend this nation into debt...” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

No, they didn't. You did, you stoopid bit**. you and all your "progressive" lefty, scum-bag, lying cohorts in Washington. So why don;t YOU do the right thing... and QUIT?!!!
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
If an able-bodied person doesn't at least TRY to be a productive member of society, that is, work, look for work, learn to work, or volunteer, why should the rest of us feed that person? Why would they bother to do any of the four (work, look for work, learn to work, or volunteer) if they can still eat, drink a few beers, have a free phone and a place to live?
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
And why would they do it especially when by working they lose all or most of their benefits and wind up behind of where they were when they were working the system? That's the kind of system we have - all or nothing.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I live in David Valadao's district, and I am all for feeding the children who are hungry. But when the liquor store on the corner has a big banner saying, "We accept EBT!," and the only "fresh" food to be found there is stale bread, spoiled milk, and hotdogs of indeterminate age, there needs to be some kind of reform. I am out of the mood of "assisting" people to live a better lifestyle than my own family has. We are a military family, and we budget carefully and meal-plan for our groceries. My kids never go hungry, but I have to say that, as a family, we are sadly lacking in the tattoo/latest electronics/professional manicure departments.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps Mr Valado can get together a small program of his own, with volunteers, and get out distributing food to those people who apparently can't or won't work & can't therefore feed themselves. Do they vote? Silly question i suppose.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Congratulations to the Republicans who voted for common sense and shame to those who didn't, which, sadly, includes my Representative. It's about time they did something meaningful and not merely symbolic. Republicans suck at symbolism because they don't have the instinct for the superficial that the other side has.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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