Do we need more hungry kids? Amodei says YES.

— by Rich Dunn

During the Great Recession, enrollment in SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, doubled to 47 million. Benefits average $133 per month. Most of the beneficiaries are children, elderly or disabled. $133 per month is $4.37 a day, and even with that, the Sodexo Foundation estimates that 17 million American children go to bed hungry every night. No telling how many more there will be after the Recovery Act’s 13% boost in SNAP benefits expires on November 1st.

But it gets worse. On September 19th, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 3102 by a vote of 217 to 210. This bill cuts another $40 billion from SNAP over ten years through a number of rule changes, from delinking nutrition assistance from other anti-poverty programs to limiting childless recipients to 90 days worth of benefits, regardless of need. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that H.R. 3102 would remove four million beneficiaries from SNAP in 2014, another three million a year after that.

To their credit, not a single Democrat voted in favor of H.R. 3102. Fifteen Republicans voted no, but Rep. Mark Amodei, R-NV, was not one of those brave souls, all of whom will no doubt be primaried in 2014 by forces on the far right of their party. The lesson for voters who care about hunger in America is simple: party matters. Look closely at what each party in congress stands for, and vote for the candidate of the party that shares your values. Politics is about policies, not personalities.

 by Vickie Rock

Prior to the House casting their vote on HR3102, I took the time to call Rep. Amodei’s office and express my concern that far too many unemployed Reservists between deployments to Afghanistan, families of low paid service members currently deployed in Afghanistan and veterans of various actions authorized by Congress will be adversely impacted by cuts to SNAP.  I specifically asked that he vote AGAINST passage of HR3102 and asked for a written response detailing whether Mr. Amodei even understood the adverse impact this draconian bill would have on the troops he purports to support.  That letter arrived in today’s mail:



I seriously disagree with Mr. Amodei that a “YES” vote is equivalent to “good stewardship” of taxpayer dollars and that in doing so, former SNAP recipients dumped from those roles would thus be able to make better and healthier diet choices that would reduce their health care and grocery costs.  The only thing that’s going to be reduced is their grocery bill, in that they won’t have sufficient money to put food on their tables.  And, if Mr. Amodei somehow thinks that starving people is going to help reduce their health care costs he must be a truly hard-core believer in the GOP’s “hurry up and friggin’ die” health care plan for the United States of Republica!

Nevadans may not have sent Sharron Angle to the Senate, but NV-CD2 certainly sent a Sharron Angle Wannabee to the House.  We need to fix that in 2014!


Latest GOP Budget Marks Latest Attack on Women

Budgets are statements of values and priorities. Based on the GOP’s latest budget, apparently the interests of women are not a priority.

Here’s a look at how the GOP budget is bad for women and children.


Here’s a link to a comparison of the numbers of all three versions of Ryan’s Path to Poverty budgets. [Numbers compiled from 112-HCONRES34112-HCONRES112, 113-HCONRES###]

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed

This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

NV-GOP: If you’re on Welfare, You Evidently Have a Drug Problem

James-SettlemyerNevada State Senate James Settelmeyer has decided all welfare recipients in Nevada must submit to a drug test because he was once told that welfare recipients are on drugs.

Settlemyer’s bill is similar to Florida’s failed drug testing bill and other states who have attempted to adopt the ALEC -crafted legislation.  It’s time to contact Sen. Settelmeyer and demand that he take back that bill a persue more productive legislation designed to resolve issues faced by everyday Nevadans.


SNAP is NOT “Wasteful Spending” as the GOP would have you believe

Every five years, Congress passes a bundle of legislation, commonly called the "Farm Bill" that sets national agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy. The last Farm Bill was passed in 2008, and expires in 2012.

The current iteration of the “farm bill” is S3240, which represents the most significant reforms in agricultural policy in decades.  As passed (Vote 164) by the Senate, the bill would cost just under $1 trillion over the next 10 years, financing dozens of price-support and crop insurance programs for farmers and food assistance for low-income families. It would end direct payments, streamline and consolidate programs. Plus, it would reduce the deficit by $23 billion. It would also strengthen top priorities that help farmers, ranchers, and small business owners continue to grow our economy.

S3240 may be know as the “farm bill,” but a majority of the spending under this bill is devoted to the food stamp program.  Once the bill got to the House, their first order of business was to increase cuts in the bill to $35M instead of the $11B in cuts identified and passed by the Senate.  The bill should be before the house on July 11th. Those deeper cuts have been signed off by both Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and ranking member Collin Peterson (D-MN).

So let’s look at the cuts that affect the working poor.  While the Senate cut only $4B from the food stamp program (SNAP–Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program), the House version cut more than $16B from SNAP.  Than means that 45% of the proposed cuts are coming out of the mouths of the truly needy by changing the rules through which a family might qualify for assistance.  The House version:

  • Requires that recipients must receive “welfare” (TANF–Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) to “automatically” qualify for SNAP
  • Closes a “loophole” that allowed families who qualify for heating assistance to automatically qualify for SNAP

The kicker is, that if a family’s assets (SNAP asset limit of $2,000) drives them slightly over the “categorical eligibility” mark (with say a car that allows them to get to work or the store), they’ll still be living in poverty, but they’ll be ineligible for any SNAP assistance.  The CBPP (Center on Budget & Policy Priorities) estimates that the Lucas-Peterson version of the Farm Bill which ends “categorical eligibility,” would deny assistance to approximately 2-3 million people, some of whom are currently receiving assistance.

According to the CBPP, the proposed cuts would cause significant hardships for millions of low-income families, in that,

  • The bill would terminate SNAP eligibility to several million people.  By eliminating categorical eligibility, which over 40 states have adopted, the bill would cut 2 to 3 million low-income people off food assistance. 
  • Several hundred thousand low-income children would lose access to free school meals.  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), 280,000 children in low-income families whose eligibility for free school meals is tied to their receipt of SNAP would lose free meals when their families lost SNAP benefits.
  • Some working families would lose access to SNAP because they own a modest car, which they often need to commute to their jobs.  Eliminating categorical eligibility would cause some low-income working households to lose benefits simply because of the value of a modest car they own.  These families would be forced to choose between owning a reliable car and receiving food assistance to help feed their families.

Instead of working to strengthen our economy, the Republican-led House has instead, decided it’s necessary to rein in costs on the backs of the poor.  If they actually did their job to strengthen the economy, millions of the working poor might actually earn enough money such that they no longer needed the temporary assistance.

History demonstrates that SNAP caseloads and expenditures fall after unemployment and poverty fall, as CBO’s recent report on SNAP notes.  SNAP caseload growth already has slowed dramatically; in fact, over the last six months (through April 2012, the most recent month for which data are available), SNAP participation has declined slightly.  According to CBO, in the years ahead the share of the population that participates in SNAP will fall back to 2008 levels.

According to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which counts SNAP as income, SNAP kept more than 5 million people out of poverty in 2010.  SNAP also lessens the severity of poverty for millions of others; if SNAP is counted as income, it lifted 2.5 million children above 75 percent of the poverty line in 2005, more than any other program.

SNAP is NOT contributing to our long-term budgetary problems, yet the GOP–led House has framed it as the evil of all evils, and as such, must be curtailed and/or eliminated completely.  I’m not buying it, and the present-day GOP’s revolting values are not the values of the nation in which I was raised.

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