Fight Over Food Stamps
If this Congress wants to make cuts, why not look at the Pentagon, notorious for waste? Or check out the Department of Agriculture, which made about $28 million in inappropriate farm assistance payments, according to a compilation of government waste reported in Business Insider. Or perhaps lawmakers could start with themselves? Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, tried to shame her colleagues into cutting less from the food stamp program (called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP). Speaking of representatives who would vote to take food from America’s tables, she said, “Some of these same members travel to foreign countries under the guise of official business. They dine at lavish restaurants, eating steak, vodka and even caviar.” Speier talked about 20 members of Congress who traveled to Ireland and got a daily food allowance of $166. The average amount a family member gets on food stamps is less than $4 a day. And The Des Moines Register reported that Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, received $3,588 in taxpayer funds for both food and lodging during a six-day trip to Russia. The Register urged King to try the “SNAP Challenge” and live on $4 a day. He could even try it in Russia.
Some Times readers couldn’t disagree more. Those who sent us letters to the editor this week were almost unanimous in their opposition to the Republican-controlled House’s vote to pass a spending cut that would remove nearly 4 million Americans from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, which provides aid to families and individuals who, for a variety of reasons, have significant trouble paying for food. Many said this action amounted to an attack on those who could least afford it; others called it immoral and unprecedented. Here is a selection of those letters. — Paul Thornton, letters editor Altadena resident J.H. Benson questions the GOP ‘s morality: “House Republicans are badly in need of a moral compass. Their hypocrisy is only surpassed by their cruelty. “The GOP says that the 4 million Americans who will be kicked off SNAP are capable of helping themselves. I hope that our very capable farmers aren’t being subsidized while this assistance to the poor is deemed too expensive.” Long Beach resident Matthew Black points out more pressing spending concerns: “The GOP has truly hit a new low. After increasing annual defense spending by more than $300 billion since 2001, spending $2 trillion on unnecessary wars and passing $1.7 trillion in tax cuts between 2001 and 2003 that primarily went to the wealthiest Americans, Republicans need to save $40 billion on food stamps. “Way to go. Why do I feel I’m reading a Charles Dickens novel? “And for those who might reply that Democrats should put their money where their mouths are, this week I donated another $250 to a local food bank. I contribute 5% of my disposable income to food banks.” Frances Terrell Lippman of Sherman Oaks picks up on the Dickens reference: “I guess those Scrooge-like, coldhearted House Republicans thought of an early holiday surprise. How generous of them to think it would be appropriate just to remind people who are hungry and struggling that it would get a little more impossible for them to feed their families.
Mass starvation feared in Syria; ‘We have no food’
I didn’t get my food stamps…she said it might be 2 or 3 months, some people it has been 6 months,” Rickrode told ABC11. The state’s food stamp program transitioned to an electronic system called NC FAST last October, but a backlog started in July and snowballed. At the end of August, Wake County had a backlog of over 3,000 applications. So far in September, staff have processed just over 1,500 applications, but thousands of people are still without their food stamp help. “Now I can only afford to get $50 a week for myself and $50 ain’t much when you try to go to the meat counter and get 2 or 3 packs of meat, it’s gone,” said Rickrode. Therefore, thousands of local families are turning to food pantries for help. “With NC FAST we’ve actually seen an increase in the number of folks coming to our pantry for food because of delays,” said Dr. Peter Morris with Urban Ministries. Now all these families can do is wait for the food stamp program to serve them. “Food stamp program is supposed to serve individuals within 30 days and by all accounts counties are taking 40-60 days,” said Morris. “I get frustrated when I see on the news those DHS employees that got the big raises; yet, they’re the ones that’s supposed to be doing the work that’s getting our food. Yet, they’re getting raises and we ain’t getting our food,” said Rickrode.
Food banks overwhelmed by backlog in food stamp system
24, 2013. Syrian state media say a car bomb has exploded in Damascus, killing and wounding a dozen people. Damascus has been hit by a wave of explosions over the past leaving scores of people dead. Photo: SANA In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA,… In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian citizens gather at the scene of a car bomb explosion in the residential al-Tadhamon neighborhood in Damascus, Syria, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. Syrian state media say a car bomb has exploded in Damascus, killing and wounding a dozen people. Damascus has been hit by a wave of explosions over the past leaving scores of people dead. Photo: SANA In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA,…