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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the newest name for the federal food stamp program.

From 4th Congressional District Representative Vicky Hartzler’s (r) August 18, 2012 e-mail newsletter:

….Our [House republicans] Farm Bill….

….With the SNAP changes we target waste, fraud, and abuse but we do NOT take one single calorie out of the mouths of children or other needy Americans dependant on this aid….

Senator Claire McCaskill (D) in Kingsville, Missouri in the 4th Congressional District on August 16, 2012:

….Senator McCaskill: ‘Cause you have so many urban, um, members of Congress that don’t understand or realize how important the farm bill is and vice versa. Uh, you’ve got some folks from very rural areas, um, that, that don’t probably appreciate, um, why the food stamp bill is important. I think the better thing to do is us to continue to do what we did in this farm bill, and that was we cut food stamps, we reduced the deficit by twenty-three billion, and still provided that certainty and predictability and crop insurance and shallow loss program that farmers need to keep our food prices stable. Uh, so, you know it’s just a fascinating thing to me that we would have the kind of bipartisan support from Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, and yet the Republicans are blocking this bill in the House and keeping it from coming for a vote….

….I mean, if Speaker [John] Boehner would put the Senate bill on the floor it would pass. Um, and, and, but, he is, um, I think they did that because Speakers want to hold on to their job as Speaker and the Republican caucus elects him. And I think he’s trying to keep the tea party happy, he’s trying to keep Congressman Akin and, and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler happy by, uh, by not voting on the Senate farm bill….

[emphasis added]

Interesting. Representative Hartzler (r) says the Senate isn’t acting (well, it’s difficult to tell because her newsletter conflates so many things) and Senator McCaskill (D) says the House is obstructing.

Let’s go to March 3, 2009 and Representative Mike Pence (r), Chairman of the House Republican Caucus (on CNN via Think Progress):

[….]

SANCHEZ: Did you hear what Rush Limbaugh said, “the dirty little secret is all Republicans want Barack Obama to fail?” Very direct question to you, Sir. Do you want Barack Obama to fail?

PENCE: Come on, Rick. Nice try. I know what Rush Limbaugh meant. …Everyone like me, Rush Limbaugh and others who believe in limited government, who believes in conservative values, wants the policies that this administration is bringing forward, higher taxes, massive increase in government spending, a huge increase in the role of government, in our daily lives, departure from traditional values. You bet, we want those policies to fail. Because, Rick, we know big government, increases in debt, the micromanagement of the economy out of Washington, DC is a policy that will fail.

[….]

Hmm. No Farm Bill before an election. Do you think we’ll soon see anonymously funded Super PAC ads on our television sets blaming Obama?

Yeah, we’ll bet on the republican teabagger controlled House being the obstructionists.

The 2011 numbers on households (not individuals) in Missouri’s current 4th Congressional District, via the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service:

Characteristics of SNAP Households

Office of Research and Analysis September 2011

Missouri Congressional District 4 [pdf]

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the cornerstone of the Nation’s nutrition assistance safety net. SNAP touches the lives of over one in seven Americans. Benefits are available to most people who meet the financial requirements, and the program serves a broad spectrum of low income people. In Fiscal Year 2010, SNAP provided about $1.4 billion dollars in food benefits to a monthly average of over 901,349 people in Missouri. The program served 83 percent of those eligible for benefits in Missouri in 2008. SNAP also has an economic multiplier effect with every $5 in new SNAP benefits generating as much as $9 in total economic activity.

The American Community Survey provides a snapshot of SNAP participants in 2007-2009 for each Congressional District. More detailed information for the Nation and each State is presented in Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Households: Fiscal Year 2010, available at http://www.fns.usda.gov/ora.

[….]

Households Receiving SNAP – 29,210 [11.55%]

Households Not Receiving SNAP – 223,687 [88.45%]

Total – 252,897

[emphasis added]

Individual SNAP recipients in the counties in the new 4th Congressional District, from the U.S. Census:

County SNAP benefits recipients [individuals]

U.S. Census Bureau, Small Area Estimates Branch

10.13.2011

July 2009

Audrain County, MO [partly in district] 3,785

Barton County, MO 2,433

Bates County, MO 2,442

Benton County, MO 3,628

Boone County, MO 19,144

Camden County, MO [partly in district] 5,443

Cass County, MO 9,927

Cedar County, MO 2,898

Cooper County, MO 2,313

Dade County, MO 1,292

Dallas County, MO 3,334

Henry County, MO 3,997

Hickory County, MO 1,599

Howard County, MO 1,304

Johnson County, MO 5,438

Laclede County, MO 7,398

Moniteau County, MO 1,724

Morgan County, MO 3,750

Pettis County, MO 7,249

Pulaski County, MO 5,037

Randolph County, MO 4,706

St. Clair County, MO 2,057

Vernon County, MO 3,563

Webster County, MO [partly in district] 4,996

Yep, Missouri’s 4th Congressional District is mostly rural and it has a significant number of SNAP recipients.

“…Uh, you’ve got some folks from very rural areas, um, that, that don’t probably appreciate, um, why the food stamp bill is important…”

There are a lot who do appreciate why it is important.

“…we do NOT take one single calorie out of the mouths of children…”

Interesting. Would those be empty calories as opposed to balanced nutrition? Just asking. You’d think a former home economics teacher would endeavor to explain the difference.

From the November 28, 2009 New York Times:

Food Stamp Usage Across the Country

County, population, percent receiving food stamps, percent change from ’07 to ’09

Audrain Missouri 26,271 18% +37%

Barton Missouri 12,348 25% +29%

Bates Missouri 17,148 18% +26%

Benton Missouri 18,261 25% +21%

Boone Missouri 156,716 15% +33%

Camden Missouri 40,923 17% +40%

Cass Missouri 99,954 12% +50%

Cedar Missouri 13,597 27% +25%

Cooper Missouri 17,515 16% +39%

Dade Missouri 7,342 21% +25%

Dallas Missouri 16,873 25% +30%

Henry Missouri 22,012 23% +27%

Hickory Missouri 8,988 22% +27%

Howard Missouri 9,969 16% +26%

Johnson Missouri 52,134 14% +41%

Laclede Missouri 35,703 27% +37%

Moniteau Missouri 15,116 15% +35%

Morgan Missouri 20,928 23% +36%

Pettis Missouri 41,266 23% +28%

Pulaski Missouri 44,793 14% +31%

Randolph Missouri 25,811 23% +19%

St. Clair Missouri 9,146 29% +31%

Vernon Missouri 20,030 23% +26%

Webster Missouri 37,073 17% +37%

[emphasis added]

From the same source:

County, population, percent receiving food stamps, percent change from ’07 to ’09

Jackson Missouri 670,843 21% +28%

St. Louis Missouri 990,151 12% +31%

St. Louis City Missouri 353,064 36% +19%

[emphasis added]

There clearly are rural counties in the 4th Congressional District with higher or equivalent rates of SNAP use when compared to urban areas in the state.

There isn’t a practical urban/rural divide when it comes to food stamps, just political ideologues in Congress with other agendas. The reality is there are a lot of hungry people (the largest percentage is children) everywhere in Missouri in need of assistance.