In his Rewrite segment Wednesday night, Lawrence O'Donnell tackled a Republican lawmaker's nonsense with regard to the farm bill and SNAP funding. But he danced around the question of why Democrats like Al Franken and Tom Harkin join with Republicans to defeat an amendment restoring funds to the food stamp program. Surely they don't believe that stupid quote about those unwilling to work should not eat, especially when they know the ones hit the hardest are children. So why not vote to restore those funds?
Answer: Farm subsidies. (Third rail, sacred cow, etc.) Senator Kirsten Gillibrand had introduced an amendment to the farm bill restoring $4.5 billion in funding to the SNAP program and reducing crop insurance reimbursements to providers.
It's not that Democrats oppose restoration of funds to the SNAP program, you see. It's that they don't want any subsidy to farmers -- direct or indirect -- to be reduced. As O'Donnell explains in this segment, farm subsidies and their ugly stepsisters like crop insurance reimbursements take precedence over everything, even though they are the absolute worst form of socialism there is.
The Senate on May 21 rejected an amendment by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N,Y., that would block a 10-year, $4.1 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as SNAP or the food stamp program) that was included in the farm bill that is now up for reauthorization. Twenty-eight Democrats sided with all 42 Senate Republicans in opposing this amendment, which if passed would have prevented thousands of low-income households from losing as much as $75 a month in benefits.
The Republican agenda concerning SNAP is clear: They want to shrink the program, not by improving the economy so there’s less need for it, but by providing fewer benefits to fewer people, and by making those benefits harder to obtain. What’s not clear is why 28 Senate Democrats would side with Republicans in denying economically struggling people access to food.
That’s why Campaign for America’s Future today has partnered with Daily Kos to get signatures on this petition asking those 28 Democrats to “put low-income families ahead of corporate welfare—and to oppose draconian cuts to food stamps.”
The thing is, this is the second time it's been cut this way, with the same exact offset. Last year they let $5 billion get chopped out of the program which means this year there will be even more hungry people. And this came from our progressive Senators like Harkin and Franken.
When exactly do hungry people take precedence over greedy farmers, and why aren't Democrats standing up for what's right? The answer to the first question should yield an answer the second one.