This is not a rhetorical question: Are the deficit hawks consciously trying to kill people? Do they begrudge even this minimal help? All the money in the world for war, but not to feed people? When you have so many people hanging by a thread, cutting the program that's putting food on their table seems like a recipe for a major crisis -- or a revolution:
A heated battle is brewing on Capitol Hill over cuts to the food stamp program, with lawmakers quoting Bible verses at each other and benefits for millions of people hanging in the balance.
Nearly 47 million people – one in seven Americans – rely on food stamps for some or all of their daily sustenance, according to the Department of Agriculture, a number that has grown nearly 70 percent since the financial collapse of 2008.
The increased enrollment has caused costs to soar from $35 billion in 2007 to $80 billion last year, and now lawmakers in both the House and the Senate are targeting program for cuts even as advocates cry foul.
Legislation making its way through Congress would eliminate billions of dollars in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps. Last week, a Senate committee approved striking $4.1 billion from the program over 10 years and a House committee backed cuts five times as large.
Those actions set the stage for a congressional showdown not only over how much to slash the program, but also over the role of government in fighting hunger and poverty.
During contentious debate over the Farm Bill, which funds food stamps, in the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., invoked the Book of Matthew as he noted his opposition to the cuts.
“[Jesus] says how you treat the least among us, the least of our brothers, that’s how you treat him,” Vargas, adding that Jesus specifically mentions the importance of feeding the hungry.
Republican Congressman Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, who supports cuts to the program, had his own Bible verse from the Book of Thessalonians to quote back to Vargas: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat,” he said.
Many of the people on food stamps are already working, for places like Walmart that don't pay them enough to get by. I'm sure Rep. Fincher knows this. That's why I'd like to slap this so-called Christian.
The left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that the House version of the farm bill making would throw nearly 2 million people off food stamps, most of whom are working families with children or senior citizens. More than 200,000 kids would lose access to free school lunches, according to the group.