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Pile of meals ready to eat (MRE)
Are Republicans trying to make veterans nostalgic for MREs?
Thursday's House vote to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $40 billion over 10 years proved, once again, that when the Republican drive to demonize poor people comes into conflict with the supposed Republican reverence for veterans, demonizing poor people wins. The bill would kick 170,000 veterans off of food stamps, out of around 900,000 veterans in the program.

Republican rhetoric was that the food stamp-slashing bill would continue food assistance for the virtuous poor—children, seniors, disabled people, employed people—and only cut assistance for able-bodied adults who don't want to work, preferring to live high on the hog off of their average benefit of around $4 a day. That's false in ways almost too numerous to count:

  • The bill contains no provisions for people who can't find work in an economy where there are three jobseekers for every available job.
  • Republicans claimed unemployed people could fulfill the bill's work requirements by turning to job training programs, yet many people don't have access to job training programs and the bill did not fund them.
  • The bill would kick 2.1 million mostly working or elderly people out of SNAP by eliminating expanded categorical eligibility. On paper, these people's income or assets are above the SNAP threshold even though, in reality, they face significant expenses like child care in order to keep working, bringing them below the threshold:
    A typical working family that qualifies for SNAP due to categorical eligibility consists of a mother with two young children who has monthly earnings just above the program’s monthly gross income limit ($2,069 for a family of three in 2013).  On average, the families above that limit who qualify for SNAP as a result of categorical eligibility have combined child care and rent costs thatexceed half of their wages.  The approximately $100 per month in SNAP benefits they receive covers about one-fourth to one-fifth of their monthly food budget.
    That provision would also cause 210,000 children to lose free school meals.

Oh, right, and then there are those 170,000 veterans. Funny how once they're no longer fighting in wars Republicans started and no longer useful for fending off criticism of said wars, once they're struggling in a difficult economy and needing government assistance to get by, Republicans stop spending so much time talking about how much we owe those people.

Really, of course, no one should go hungry, veteran, child, or able-bodied unemployed adult.

Please join Daily Kos and Ultraviolet in denouncing House Republicans for passing deep cuts to food stamps, and tell Congress to oppose all cuts.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 09:48 AM PDT.

Also republished by Hunger in America and Daily Kos.

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