By Jueseppi B.
I mean really, do children need food to survive?
Schmidt helps block food stamp cuts as House farm bill advances
WASHINGTON — Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Miami Township, was part of a GOP firewall that blocked deeper cuts to the federal food stamp program on Thursday, as the House Agriculture Committee advanced a sweeping overhaul of federal farm policy.
Schmidt sits on the House Agriculture Committee, which approved a five-year, $500 billion farm bill early Thursday morning. The legislation would eliminate direct payments to farmers in favor of new crop insurance programs. It also would cut more than $16 billion over 10 years in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps.
Schmidt broke with conservatives on the committee who were pushing to slash that nutrition program by billions more — joining with Democrats and a handful of other Republicans in voting against an amendment that would have doubled the SNAP reductions to about $33 billion. Schmidt reportedly made an emotional plea to her GOP colleagues to vote against the cuts.
“There is a great deal of need that is in America today, and it is growing every single day,” Schmidt said, according to a story on Politico. “I ask each and every one of my colleagues to look in their heart and look in their soul and if you haven’t volunteered at a food bank, I suggest this weekend that you go to your local food bank and volunteer.”
Democrats unsuccessfully tried to restore full funding for the SNAP program, saying the cuts would increase hunger among poor Americans at a time when many already are struggling in a tough economy. But Schmidt and other Republicans said the bill struck the right balance, reducing the possibility for waste and fraud while making sure people get the food assistance they need.
The full committee approved the bill by a vote of 35-to-11. However, the fate of the farm bill remains unclear. House Republican leaders have not said when it will come to the full House floor for a vote, and any measure would have to be reconciled with the Senate version. The current farm program expires Sept. 30.
Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester, sounded lukewarm about the legislation at his weekly news conference.
Boehner said the proposal has “some good reforms,” but added: “We’ve got a Soviet-style dairy program in America today and one of the problems is this farm bill would actually make it worse.”
Boehner was not the only Ohio lawmaker to express reservations.
Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville, the former president of the Ohio Farm Bureau, said he was concerned the House proposal would be a step backward and could put Midwestern farmers at a disadvantage.
“The biggest red flag, as it relates to Ohio, is the inequity between crops that would create a disadvantage for Midwestern farmers,” Gibbs said in a statement.
Gibbs’ chief of staff, Ryan Stenger, said the congressman was referring to the House bill’s target price program for various crops, which favors rice and peanuts over corn and soybeans.
Adam Sharp, vice president for public policy at the Ohio Farm Bureau, said he wasn’t overly concerned about any disparity in the target prices, although he said there are other problems with that program.
The target price program acts as a floor for farmers; if the price of any commodity falls below the target price set in the farm bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will make up the difference between the target price and the market price.
Sharp said farmers would prefer to see a program based on yield and revenue, because if there’s a drought and crops are dying, “farmers in Ohio say, ‘The target price doesn’t do anything for me.’”
Still, Sharp said that although the House measure is “not a perfect bill, we absolutely support moving this bill forward,” because farmers need certainty in federal policy.
“The bottom line for farmers and for our members is it’s a safety net,” he said.
The Senate passed its version of a five-year, $500 billion farm bill in June. Like the House bill, the Senate measure would end direct payments to farmers. The Senate bill would trim the food stamp program by about $4.5 billion and overall would save almost $24 billion over 10 years.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee, helped craft the Senate’s new approach to farm subsidies, saying it did not make sense to continue paying farmers for “crops they don’t grow.” The new policy would “replace direct payments with market-based supports” that are “more responsive to farmers and taxpayers,” Brown said after the Senate bill passed.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, was one of 30 Republicans and five Democrats who voted against the Senate farm bill. He praised the “responsible reforms” to farm commodity programs but said the Senate bill didn’t do enough to “scale back the food stamp entitlement program,” which he noted accounted for about 80 percent of the cost of the legislation.
Here’s an idea……
Lets just shut everything down, give the trillions of dollars Americans need to live and survive to the top 1% and hope they take care of us middle class and poor.
Lets turn over food stamps, social security, medicare & medicaid, student loans, disability to the disabled and also veterans benefits to the wealthy. I’m so sure Donald Trump, Mitt Romney, the Kock Bros, Sheldon Adelson and Newt Gingrich will provide for the necessary welfare and health of us bottom 99% of Americans.
What say you America?
“BARACK” The Vote
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