Bob Dole: Stop playing politics with hunger

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

So the radical extremist Tea-Publicans in the House voted to cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) aka food stamps, with only 15 GOP members voting against it. This follows a months-long campaign by the conservative media entertainment complex to demonize the working poor.

There was a time in this country that there was bipartisan consensus that aiding the working poor was good public policy and the the morally just thing to do. Recently, former senators Bob Dole (R-KS) and Tom Daschle (D-SD) wrote this op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, Stop playing politics with hunger:

One of the biggest pieces of business Congress
has yet to resolve is the farm bill, legislation that has enjoyed
bipartisan support for decades. Unfortunately, the process to
reauthorize this crucial bill has taken a sharp and disheartening turn
this year. The Senate and the House are in a standoff over extremely
different versions of it with a deadline looming this month.

At stake is the ability
of millions of Americans who still struggle in our economy to provide
adequate and healthy meals for their children and families. In an
unprecedented move, the House stripped the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,
or SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), from the bill with an
intention to pass a separate nutrition bill, one with significant cuts
to programs that fight hunger.

There have always been disagreements between our parties over the
farm bill, but for decades we have reached across the aisle to tackle
the concerns on both sides. We proudly count ourselves among a series of
bipartisan teams of legislators who worked past those differences to
address hunger through provisions in the farm bill.

We are a country with ample
resources, especially the plentiful supply of food produced by our
farms. As Americans, we have always used this abundance to help those
who are hungry, both here and abroad. For generations, the United States
has welcomed new Americans escaping famine and hunger in their
homelands.

All of us benefit from the efficiency of our farmers and ranchers. We
enjoy a safe and plentiful food system for less than 10% of our
disposable income. In fact, Americans spend a smaller percentage of our
disposable income on food than people in any other country. As a nation
blessed with a bounty of food, we are a nation with a duty to fight
hunger.

The special relationship in the legislative process between
agriculture and those who need assistance from the SNAP program is also
built on this tradition. In the modern era, funding for this vital
program has been extended as part of the farm bill with relatively
little partisan bickering — until now.
By stripping the nutrition title
from the legislation this year, the House has severed the vital tie that
helps connect our food system with those who struggle with hunger in
our own backyard.

Over time, we have worked hard to improve the program's efficiency
and effectiveness. In 2011, SNAP lifted 47 million people out of
poverty, and 72% of its participants were families with children
. The
error rate — the combined rate for underpayments and overpayments — has
been on a steady decline since the 1990s. And a 2008 Moody's Analytics study shows that every $1 spent to help reduce hunger has resulted in $1.70 in economic activity.

Tackling our nation's hunger issues has always resulted in a win-win
situation for farmers, low-income families and our economy. The latest
proposal from the House is an about-face on our progress fighting
hunger
. It would eliminate food assistance for 4 million to 6 million
Americans.

If Congress lets this bill fall victim to the misguided and
detrimental partisan politics we face today, the results for families
and children challenged with hunger will be severe
. In a country
struggling to emerge from the worst economic recession since the
Depression, this is no time to play politics with hunger. As friends and
colleagues, we hope that the House will do the right thing and follow
the Senate's lead in passing a farm bill with adequate funding for food
assistance. Our nation's future depends on it.

The Tea-Publican House rejected Bob Dole's advice. Perhaps the conference committee can do right by Americans, but with these hateful Tea-Publicans who despise their fellow American citizens, this is in doubt. These Tea-Publicans voted to harm their own constituents in the name of ideological purity, and fealty to the conservative media entertainment complex. The
lesson of the food stamps vote: Party is all that matters now
:

The American Community Survey by the Census Bureau actually keeps track
of how many households in each cistrict are on food stamps (thank to Andrew Reamer
for pointing this out). So I thought it might be interesting to see how
food stamps usage in districts represented by supporters of the cuts
differs from usage in districts represented by opponents.
Unsurprisingly, supporters' districts are less reliant on the program,
with an average of 12.4 percent of households on SNAP, than opponents',
where the average is about 15 percent. Curiously, the 15 House
Republicans who opposed the cuts had districts with lower average food
stamp use (~ 11.3 percent) than either districts of Republicans who
supported them or districts of Democrats (all of whom opposed the cuts).

* * *

So it's worth asking if the share of households on food stamps has
any effect on House members' votes once you take their party affiliation
into account. It appears they don't. If you do a simple regression
trying to explain how members voted with only two explanatory variables —
the member's party, and the share of his or her district on food stamps
— the latter isn't even close to statistically significant.

Now, that doesn't mean that members of Congress aren't responding to
the views of their districts, since presumably economic conditions of
districts — including food stamp usage — help determine which party
represents them. But Democrats in districts with barely any food stamp
users (such as Henry Waxman, whose district's SNAP usage rate is a
paltry 1.7 percent) all voted against cut, and Republicans in districts
with huge numbers of food stamp users (such as Hal Rogers, 29 percent of
whose district's households are on SNAP) almost all voted for them.
It's yet another indication that House members are becoming less and
less motivated by parochial interests of their districts and more and more unified on party lines.

Bob Dole must be hanging his head in shame for the party he once lead today.

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