The Republican Party continues to toil under numerous image problems of their own creation. The one that tends to make the most news these days is their overt hostility to women: Every passing day seems to evince yet another creepy outrage even more horrific than the last. But equally in the running, of course, is the self-created perception that Republicans could care less about minorities and have too vested an interest in protecting the wealthy from any sort of regulation or externally imposed scruple of conscience.
Republicans may be trying to figure out how to countermand these notions, but one thing seems clear: They've decided to start their systematic rebrand until after drafting the latest version of their House budget for agriculture and food safety programs, because ... boy, is this one a doozy.
More below the fold.
As reported by Politico, this House Republican ag budget does its best to combine most everything people despise about the Republican Party into one tightly wound ball of awful:
House Republicans proposed a $20.9 billion budget for agriculture and food safety programs Monday, an 82-page bill that challenges the White House on nutrition rules and denies major new funding sought by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to better regulate the rich derivatives market.Yes, this is bad, but it's not altogether unsurprising, right? We know that Republicans despise Wall Street regulations, and we also know that they also like to use the power of the purse to attempt to defund governmental priorities with which they don't agree. So, one might rate this as typical, but not shocking. But you will be shocked by what happens next:
The CFTC fares better than in the past in that the GOP allows for a modest $3 million increase for information technology investments. But the $218 million budget is still $62 million less than President Barack Obama’s request and continues a pattern that has frustrated the administration’s ability to implement Wall Street reforms called for under the Dodd-Frank law enacted in July 2010.
And in a surprising twist, the bill language specifies that only rural areas are to benefit in the future from funding requested by the administration this year to continue a modest summer demonstration program to help children from low-income households — both urban and rural — during those months when school meals are not available.At this point, it's almost as if Republicans have given up making excuses for their own behavior. They've sought to restrict a summer food aid program for children to rural areas only, at the exclusion of urban areas (read: "letting poor white kids continue to get summer food help while putting the screws to black and brown children") and don't even have a ready-made policy excuse as to why. That's just the intent of the program, with no other explanation needed. It appears that House Republicans have completely bought into Rep. Paul Ryan's racist dog whistle about how men in inner cities "aren't even thinking of working" and have decided to withhold food aid to children to teach those inner-city men about the value of work. Because after all, there's no better way to teach historically disadvantaged people the value of work than to starve their kids.
Democrats were surprised to see urban children were excluded. And the GOP had some trouble explaining the history itself. But a spokeswoman confirmed that the intent of the bill is a pilot project in “rural areas” only.
Oh, and the bill also accedes to the demands of the potato industry to have white potatoes qualify as a vegetable under the WIC program, which provides healthy meals to women and children—so it looks like french fries have now joined ketchup in the pantheon of Republican vegetables.
Doing the bidding of Wall Street, discrimination against racial minorities and giveaways to big agribusiness at the expense of women and children. In other words, just another day at the office at Republican Party headquarters.