by Jeffrey Lee
Last Thursday, House Republicans in their latest controversial vote removed the food stamp program from the farm bill. For as long as I can remember, there has been a food stamp program. As a child growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s, I often wondered where people got that funny looking book of money and what was it used for. Later, I discovered the true purpose of a food stamp book which is helping to feed hungry children and families. Historically, the food stamp program and the farm bill have been voted on together in the same bill since 1973.
Hunger in America is an issue that many discuss, but at the same time few truly wanted to tackle the millions of starving families in the US. On Thursday, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill that will completely remove the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) better know as “food stamps” from our government’s budget, and SNAP has been tied to the Agriculture or Farm bill since 1973. However, conservative house republicans feel that there is no particular need for this program and moved to remove the program completely from the farm bill. In an America where 16 percent of its population is living at or below the national poverty rate, roughly 50 million people are hungry residing in one of the richest nations on the planet. How can this move be justified?
The New York Times published the article House bill would split farm and food stamp programs which gives a detailed view of exactly what the Farm Bill covers and how it has been used historically.
Here is an excerpt:
“Asked before the vote Thursday if he would allow a compromise bill to come to a final vote in the House, Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio shrugged and said: “If ands and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas. You’ve heard that before. My goal right now is to get the farm bill passed. We’ll get to those other issues later.”
Democrats did not allow this move by Senate Republicans to transpire without opposition. All Democrats stood in solidarity and voted against the measure along with 12 republicans who bucked against party lines and voted with a social conscious. Anyone in public office who serves a populous should have the political and moral obligation to act in the best interest of that populous and not special interest. Too many times, the republican party has looked to those in our nation who can afford the least as a remedy to pay for tax cuts for the rich and unpaid for wars. The truth of the matter is that money controls political campaigns, and ultimately it serves as a means to control political agendas. So I ask you, if a political party has been bought and paid for why continue to vote for them?