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Congressman Glosses Over Food Stamp Cuts in ‘Farm Bill’

Congressman Glosses Over Food Stamp Cuts in ‘Farm Bill’

Written by Alan Pyke and Scott Keyes

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) flagrantly misrepresented what the House has done with the farm bill at a constituent breakfast in Turlock, California, on Wednesday. Denham claimed the House farm bill cuts twice as much spending as it actually does, misled about the nature of those cuts and ignored his party’s unprecedented decision to drop food stamps and other anti-hunger and anti-poverty spending from the bill.

“We cut subsidies,” Denham said. “We cut a lot of those program crops that sometimes farmers will get paid money not to farm.” He added that the bill had “about $40 billion in savings.” He did not mention funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps, though the House is expected to vote on a bill that cuts the program deeply, kicking millions of low-income Americans off the rolls. ThinkProgress’s Scott Keyes attended the breakfast and recorded Denham’s remarks on the farm bill:

The bill Denham and his colleagues passed actually saves $20 billion, half of what he claimed Wednesday. And while it did erase $5 billion in annual payments to farmers for not growing anything, it didn’t actually save that money. The bill redirects those funds to the crop insurance program that provides price supports for various agriculture produce.

Those price supports are set at such high levels that they effectively make it impossible for farmers to lose money on many crops. Corn, cotton, rice, soybean, wheat and peanut price supports all shot up under the House GOP’s bill. Growers of specialized sushi rice, for example, are guaranteed payments from taxpayers should the market rate for the rice fall below 115 percent of the previous year’s rate. Denham and his colleagues guaranteed sushi rice growers will make more money next year but could not pass a bill funding SNAP.

As Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) said of the initial bill, which cut SNAP but at least provided funds for it, “I wish that poor people would be treated as well as sushi rice in this farm bill, but they are not.”

After the recess ends in September, the House is expected to vote on a SNAP bill that cuts food aid by $40 billion – twice as much as the initial proposal that Republicans killed in June. After poisoning that first version of the bill, House leadership elected to end the decades-long legislative marriage of food aid and farm aid by splitting the bill in two and passing just the farm version. The result, experts told ThinkProgress, is that the food stamps program is now in danger.

Despite SNAP’s successes – the program kept 4.7 million out of poverty in 2011 alone yet has a lower erroneous payments rate than the crop insurance program – conservatives have sought to undermine it for years. The first round of cuts the House GOP sought were expected to knock as many as 5 million Americans off of the program. Food charities say they are already stretched beyond capacity, and will not be able to pick up the slack if the government pulls back from fighting hunger.

This post was originally published in ThinkProgress.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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153 comments

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1:59AM PDT on Sep 18, 2013

The GOP don't care about cutting food-stamps. They only care about "hurting" Pres. Obama. So what if people are hungry, poor, sick. Vets in need., seniors or disabled.

4:38AM PDT on Aug 21, 2013

Mark K. "I want to know when it became my responsibility to feed your family if you are healthy ??"
Ooh Ooh, I know that one...it became your responsibility when you were born into this country and millions in taxes were collected to educate you from people who didn't have any children or no longer have children. It became your responsibility when you were born into this country and taxes were collected to help pave the streets from people who do not drive. It became your responsibility when any tax collected from someone else was used for a purpose they did not directly benefit from but benefited someone like yourself. No man is an island.

1:58PM PDT on Aug 20, 2013

I'm one of the ones who might be kicked out of SNAP later because of loss of funds.

7:10AM PDT on Aug 20, 2013

I saw his picture. He looks well fed and I'm sure his family is, also. Just another Republican who condemns abortion, then starves the children.

2:59AM PDT on Aug 20, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

9:27PM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

ty

9:26PM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

ty

6:44PM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

Continued from bottom...
To live as a true witness of faith we must learn to unselfishly love and care for others without exception. All people are deserving of love and compassion. Love is the answer never hatred. Peace and much love to you.

6:39PM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

@Mark K.
I truly pity you for your lack of compassion for the needy. It is clear that you lack genuine empathy for the downtrodden. I hope that you come to understand that being compassionate to the needy does not mean that you are obligated to give all of your earnings over. It is easy to make a difference in the lives of the hungry by donating extra canned goods, and by making a few extra meals. My mom and I are doing just that by making bread to donate to a local shelter through our Friends Meeting. It isn't difficult, and it is satisfying to the heart to know that by being unselfish you have made a difference is someone's life.

We live in a global community, and as such we are obligated to care for our friends and neighbors. To refuse to recognize that all people have the right to eat is morally reprehensible. FYI just because a person has a job does not mean that they earn a living wage to feed a family, and not everyone has access to quality medical care, education, jobs, and health care. Having a job does not guarantee that one is going to be able to live a full and happy life.

I will pray for you to be able to come into the understanding of what is truly means to follow Christ, and to do so means that one must be able to love and care for those who need it most. Entrance into Heaven is not reserved for those who profess a love for God in a hall of worship, but maintain a life outside of worship as a bastion of greed a hatred for those who are unlike yourself. T

2:57PM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

Republicans won't be happy till everyone who is not rich is dead in America. Every single Republican needs to be kick out (by is ass) of office. Not a single republican care about anyone who isn't rich. I have no idea why anyone would vote for any republican.

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