After extensive negotiations and public shaming the House of Representatives did what it was going to do anyway and cut food stamps. So just be happy the bill only cuts food stamps by $8 billion instead of the $39 billion the Republicans initially wanted? Yes, in a time of record poverty and high unemployment one more kick to those already down is one of of the few things both parties could agree on in Washington.
The same government that passed a $600+ billion war budget just can’t stand the thought of hungry people eating food.
After nearly two years of stasis and bickering, the House of Representatives passed a nearly $1 trillion farm bill on Wednesday with a bipartisan majority. The final vote was 251-166, with only 63 Republicans registering their disapproval.
A majority of Democrats, however, voted against the bill, primarily due to the roughly $8 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka food stamps. Yet even this cut is considerably smaller than the $39 billion Republicans in the House initially wanted to see shaved from the program.
Of course cuts were necessary we can’t have waste in the farm bill.
Then again, according to the Center For Responsive Politics Big Business was able to get some changes they wanted into the bill. It seems only the poor aren’t allowed to have a free lunch.
Together, the agricultural services (in the case of AACI) and crop production (in the case of the wheat growers) industries have some serious lobbying heft. In 2013 alone, the industries combined to spend more than $57.5 million on lobbying. Leading the charge among those groups were chemical giant Monsanto and the American Farm Bureau, which over the past five years have spent $36 million and $27.9 million, respectively.
But crop producers and other agricultural groups haven’t just been using their cash for lobbying; they’ve also sunk money into the campaigns of much of the congressional leadership in charge of crafting this year’s farm bill.
It’s not bribery because we don’t call it that.
So while food stamps are getting an $8 billion cut, crop insurance is getting a $7 billion increase. Behold the power of lobbying and campaign contributions – Congress is literally stealing from the poor and giving to the rich.