WASHINGTON — New York Democrats lashed out at House Speaker John Boehner Thursday after he accused New York and four other states of “cheating” and “fraud” for sidestepping billions of dollars in federal food stamp cuts.
“Whoever thinks feeding the hungry and the poor is cheating and fraud must have no heart,” said Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem).
At issue are efforts by New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Oregon to continue tapping what critics call a “loophole” in food stamp laws that Congress tried to close in a farm bill last month.
The rebellion against the cuts has enraged Republicans who watched the savings they hoped to wring from the food stamp program shrink.
On Thursday, Boehner (R-Ohio) spoke out.
“Since the passage of the farm bill, states have found ways to cheat once again on signing up people for food stamps,” he complained.
“And so I would hope that the House would act to try to stop this cheating and this fraud from continuing.”
Democrats said the states had to step in to prevent residents from going hungry. The farm bill’s continuation of subsidies for wealthy farmers and business interests only added to the need to act, they said.
“It is not up for dispute that Gov. Cuomo correctly stepped up to stop devastating cuts to low-income families within both the letter and spirit of the law,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
“Not only did Speaker Boehner prioritize saving every dollar for crop insurance companies over hungry families, he is making an argument that would be laughable if it weren’t so sad,” she said
So, let’s review.
The GOP is able to shove cuts to the Food Stamp program into the Farm Bill.
Several Senators who realize that many of their constituents will go hungry proceed to exploit a loophole to make sure those people get fed.
John Boehner reacts to this news using language usually reserved for polite Southern Gentlemen in White Suits who have extra aces hidden in their cuffs.
I understand having issues with the Democrats but if you make under fifty thousand dollars a year and vote straight ticket Republican, you are a Goddamn sap.
Let me tell you a couple of quick things about myself.
After my parents got divorced, my mom had to apply for the food stamp program. She wasn’t crazy about it. But she did it because she had two kids who needed feeding. (One of them who could shovel back food in a way that would make Marimba Army Ants tilt their heads back and say “DAMN!”.) And soon as things stabilized, she quit the program.
The other thing is that when I was a teen-ager, I worked as a clerk at the family grocery store, we would get people who would buy a stick of beef jerky for something like ten cents and then use the change for other stuff like beer or cigarettes. (I remember getting into an argument with one guy about this and it got so heated that he almost threw an un-opened can of soda in my face. I’m going to take a moment and play my judgmental asshole card and assume that he’s now dead from his own stupidity.)
So yeah, I’ve been on both sides of this issue. And I kind of get why conservatives aren’t crazy about about the program. No one like to be played for a sap.
But the fact is that fraud in the program is far lower then the GOP says it is. Via U.S. News and World Reports.
Conservative critics of SNAP and other federal social programs like to portray them as turning the United States into an “entitlement society” by undermining the work ethic and creating a class of people dependent on government programs. That’s not true of SNAP and it’s not true of other federal health and income security programs. CBPP analysis finds that more than 90 percent of the benefit dollars that these programs spend go to assist people who are elderly, seriously disabled or members of working households – not to able-bodied, working-age Americans who choose not to work.
The “entitlement society” myth is often paired with similarly discredited arguments that SNAP and other federal social programs are poorly run or have high administrative costs. In fact, SNAP has a strong record of efficiency. It has one of the most rigorous quality control systems of any public benefit program. SNAP error rates (benefit overpayments and underpayments) are at an all-time low; just 3 percent of benefits went to ineligible households or exceeded the allowable benefit for eligible households. Moreover, honest mistakes by recipients, eligibility workers, data entry clerks or computer programmers – not fraud – account for an overwhelming majority of such overpayments.
Conservative critics who want to cut SNAP sharply or radically restructure the program say such “reforms” are necessary because the number of people claiming benefits and benefit costs are spinning out of control, the program is discouraging work and creating dependency, and it’s rife with waste, fraud, and abuse.
The facts, however, say otherwise.
Here in Oregon, the SNAP funds are distributed by using a EBT card. It works like a debit card and is only good for approved food items. Here, the using a stamp for penny candy dodge is a thing of the past.
You want to cut fraud, you make fraud harder to execute. Cutting the program just hurts the people who need it the most.
I can’t tell whether John Boehner actually believes his hogwash about the Governors being cheaters or if he’s just tossing red meat. But at this point, it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that we can’t let him get away with this nonsense.
This is one of those moments when Bullshit needs to be yelled loudly and often.
So let’s get yelling!