Although former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was smeared as “racist” by many Democrats and members of the main stream media for declaring Barack Obama “the food stamp president,” it turns out that, according to the USDA, being a “food stamp president” is really hip.
In fact, the nation’s agricultural agency says, in a recent video ad, that signing up for food stamps can make you look and feel your best.
Focus on the food stamp program comes as the Senate on Tuesday voted against reform of the welfare program, approving $770 billion in spending on it over the next 10 years. Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-Alabama) amendment proposed to limit excesses of the program by establishing a federal asset test to ensure that food stamps are going to families who truly need them. The vote against Sen. Sessions’ reform amendment was approved, 56-43, with the help of Republicans Scott Brown (Massachusetts), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Susan Collins (Maine), and Dean Heller (Nevada). Claire McCaskill (Missouri) was the sole Democrat to vote with the majority of Republicans.
Sen. Sessions also attempted to end what can only be described as the ludicrous federal policy of paying $500 million in bonuses to states that sign up more people for food stamps. That amendment also lost, 58-41.
Almost 48 million people received food stamps in 2011, an increase from the 28.2 million who received the welfare benefit in 2008. The cost to taxpayers has more than doubled during this period, to $78 billion, and will account for 78% of Farm Bill spending over the next ten years. Thirty-nine states have no solid asset test to determine food stamp eligibility.
House Republicans, earlier in the year, passed a food stamp reform bill that will save $34 billion over the next ten years. That bill will now go to a House-Senate Farm Bill conference. It’s pretty clear, though, that more of the political elites who resist government spending changes need to be shown the door in November.
The Farm Bill…it’s not about farms.