GOP moving forward with food-stamps cuts, and Democrats aren't going to like it

The House finally filed the food-stamps portion of their bifurcated farm bill on Monday, complete with the utterly, contemptibly “draconian” 5 percent cut to current spending levels that the opposition feared, and the ensuing level of drama and demagoguery that Democrats will soon begin spouting is likely to be second only to the overarching defund-ObamaCare/fund-the-government fight that also has a deadline of September 30th. Politico reports on the food-stamps legislation, with rather a heavy helping of partisanship on the side:

House Republicans released their substitute nutrition title for the farm bill Monday, a 109-page package that seeks to tighten eligibility rules for food stamps and end state waivers for able-bodied adults who are working less than 20 hours a week.

At least 3 million beneficiaries could be forced off the rolls and the 10-year savings are estimated near $39 billion. Caught in the middle are states like Washington and New York which are already using federal funds to teach job skills to food stamp recipients but could lose millions in aid if they fail to comply with the new direction set by the bill.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor is the driving force, and the whole legislative process is quite extraordinary with the Virginia Republican essentially operating as a committee-of-one. …

Toward this end, the House Rules Committee announced it will meet on the nutrition bill Wednesday in anticipation of votes by the end of the week. Whip counts suggest it will be a closely-fought contest given the strength of the Democratic opposition. …

It all does sound pretty “draconian” when you put it that way, but Politico — perhaps unintentionally, ahem — acknowledges the Republicans’ driving point behind this very necessary (and indeed, not extensive enough) exercise:

All these estimates are subject to change if the economy improves and more jobs become available.

Exactly. Yes, real material hardship is an inexcusably widespread phenomenon in the United States, but the single biggest cause of that hardship is our stagnating economic and the subsequent dearth of jobs and economic opportunities. Household incomes and the labor force participation rate have been shrinking throughout President Obama’s tenure, and aren’t merely trying to take away food stamps for the sick, cruel fun of it — they’re trying to engender healthy economic and fiscal policies that can finally get our economy moving in the right direction. If they can achieve that, it means that the estimates of people in need of food assistance will positively revise themselves.

Anyhow, it sounds like they’re trying for a vote to finally get the whole package into conference with the Senate by the end of the week, but enough Republicans might still be split on the issue to ensure all of the necessary votes given the almost assuredly full-court Democratic opposition. We shall see…

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