August 2, 2013

Say what? This problem's a little bigger than a couple of food drives,
I'll have you know, young man.

Oh, you have to love this. The same Republicans who have declared War on The Poor instead of War on Poverty got a little damned snippy with Sister Simone Campbell when she testified against food stamp and other cuts:

The committee’s ranking member, Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), noted in his opening statement that Ryan’s budget plan calls for converting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), popularly known as food stamps, into a block grant funded at levels one-third below Congressional Budget Office estimates of anticipated need. (Just last month, the House passed a farm bill that eliminated SNAP from the final version, leaving the Appropriations Committee to find another way to fund the program.)

Campbell’s testimony focused on the “faithful budget” on which NETWORK and other faith groups collaborated—a budget proposal designed to address poverty and other social justice needs.

As the question-and-answer session got underway, it became clear that Campbell’s unusual combination of credentials, combined with her liberal politics, got under the skin of members of what is often described as God’s Own Party. Many of the the Republicans who questioned her felt the need to assert their own religious bona fides before lobbing their rhetorical grenades.

Todd Rokita (R-IN) spoke of his Catholic schooling, while Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) began her questioning by saying, “I was teaching a Sunday school class …” And Reid Ribble (R-WI) began his questioning by mentioning all the many pastors in his family. “Christianity is all about the church reaching out to the poor,” Ribble said. “What is the church doing wrong that it needs to come to government (to fund anti-poverty efforts)?” he asked of Campbell.

“I think it’s more a reflection of the dimension of the issue,” Campbell replied. She cited a study issued last year that estimated every house of worship in the nation would have to contribute an additional $50,000 per year for the next ten years in order to make up for Republican budget cuts to the social safety nets of just two states.

Jim McDermott (D-WA) was just beside himself after that. “This hearing is surreal,” he said. “It ought to be about jobs. … We are not living in the real world. Nobody here has to make a decision about whether you feed your kids or not.”

You don't want to screw with the nuns, gentlemen. (And yes, I do use the term ironically.) You won't win. You can't win.


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