Rep. George Miller (D-CA) today issued a report identifying fourteen Republican representatives who voted – are you ready – to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits from the farm bill while retaining massive agricultural subsidies they themselves receive. Collectively, the fourteen GOP piggies:
Have a total net worth of up to $124.5million;
Have received a total of at least $7.2 million in farm subsidies;
Each previously voted to gut the SNAP program by giving states large financial incentives to kick families off SNAP.
A charter member of the GOP’s pork swilling fourteen: Missouri’s Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-4). Her federally-financed take: $516,000; her total worth: somewhere between $2,218,026 and $13,854,995; the number of constituents in her home county, Cass County, who receive SNAP benefits: 8,664 or 9%. According to Rep. Hartzler, the House approved farm bill:
… secures a safe, affordable, and plentiful food supply by improving agricultural programs to be cost-effective and market-oriented.
“This Farm Bill saves taxpayer dollars by eliminating direct subsidies and payments to those who don’t farm,” said Hartzler. “In place of direct payments, farmers will have access to a low-lying safety net that offers assistance only after significant losses are suffered as a result of extreme droughts, floods, or adverse market conditions. This ensures American consumers won’t have to be dependent on foreign countries for our food. A safe, affordable food supply is vital to the national security of this great nation.”
However, as usual, Hartzler’s not telling us the whole story:
Republicans tried to claim that the passage of the farm provisions was done to help family farms, but this Farm Bill is loaded with pork and handouts for the wealthy and corporations. Farmers with incomes over $250,000 will receive one third of the crop insurance money. This Republican House passed windfall for millionaires and corporations comes at a time when net farm income is projected to reach it highest level since 1973.
Hartzler does try to weasel out of taking responsibility for redistributing wealth upwards, claiming that cutting direct subsidies to farmers who take land out of production while providing federally funded insurance subsidies to big agricultural interests constitutes a significant fiscal “reform.” As Lisa Ritland of the Denver Post put it, “While ending one egregious subsidy program, direct payments, a new potentially larger taxpayer giveaway was created.”
It’s clear who benefits here, but who gets hurt?:
… the typical household receiving aid under the farm bill through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), has a gross monthly income of only $744, and their average monthly SNAP benefit-which every member detailed in this report voted against extending- is just $281.
Nor are the recipients the worthless “takers” that make the GOP and their supporters go rabid with self-righteous, tax-payer rage:
House Republicans aren’t starving able bodied poor people. Forty five percent of food stamp recipients are children. Twenty percent of recipients are disabled, and 8.5% are elderly. These aren’t healthy working age adults mooching off the system. They are the most vulnerable members of our society.
So, to recap, Children will go without food while millionaire Vicky Hartzler continues to lives the good life, pulling in the funds that should be supporting our much-vaunted safety net. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired to death of subsidizing the likes of the self-serving Rep. Hartzler.