Fight Over Food Stamps

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Their hypocrisy is only surpassed by their cruelty. “The GOP says that the 4 million Americans who will be kicked off SNAP are capable of helping themselves. I hope that our very capable farmers aren’t being subsidized while this assistance to the poor is deemed too expensive.” Long Beach resident Matthew Black points out more pressing spending concerns: “The GOP has truly hit a new low. After increasing annual defense spending by more than $300 billion since 2001, spending $2 trillion on unnecessary wars and passing $1.7 trillion in tax cuts between 2001 and 2003 that primarily went to the wealthiest Americans, Republicans need to save $40 billion on food stamps. “Way to go. Why do I feel I’m reading a Charles Dickens novel? “And for those who might reply that Democrats should put their money where their mouths are, this week I donated another $250 to a local food bank. I contribute 5% of my disposable income to food banks.” Frances Terrell Lippman of Sherman Oaks picks up on the Dickens reference: “I guess those Scrooge-like, coldhearted House Republicans thought of an early holiday surprise. How generous of them to think it would be appropriate just to remind people who are hungry and struggling that it would get a little more impossible for them to feed their families. Their apathy is only exceeded by their cruelty. “Being hungry and homeless in America is this country’s greatest shame, and yet our so-called leaders in Washington couldn’t care less and only serve to exacerbate this terrible and fixable situation. Watch out for that karma.” Oxnard resident Steve Binder says The Times should give this issue more attention: “Friday morning, I couldn’t wait to read The Times’ article about the Republican-led House voting to cut off food stamps for children, senior citizens, the disabled and especially our veterans. Too bad it was buried inside the paper.

At Food-Filled Farm Aid, Music Isn’t Only Focus

Thursdays vote represented a victory for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who embraced a strategy this summer that split apart the farm bill to consider funding for food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program , separately from legislation authorizing crop subsidies and a revamping of many agricultural and conservation programs. Cantor said the deep cuts enacted Thursday were necessary because while most SNAP recipients need the assistance, there are many people who abuse the system. Frankly, its wrong for hardworking, middle-class Americans to pay for that, Cantor said. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), a strong supporter of the bill, said that stiffer work requirements for certain adults applying for SNAP funds mean you can no longer sit on your couch . . . and expect the federal taxpayer to feed you. The House voted 217 to 210 to approve the measure. Fifteen Republicans joined with all of the Democrats present to vote against the plan. Passage of the bill means that the House can begin negotiations with the Senate over a final version of the farm bill, which would once again merge food aid with other agricultural policy. But Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) , in a long speech on the Senate floor Thursday, rejected the GOP approach, saying that Republicans had turned their backs on low-income families in hopes of making budget cuts. Citing his own trips to the grocery store with his wife, Landra, Reid said that proposed reductions in SNAP funding would make it difficult for some recipients to purchase ground beef and milk in the same shopping trip. In the House, Democrats used the hours before the vote to criticize Republicans for the funding reductions.

House passes GOP plan to slash food stamp funding

But Republicans have focused on recipients who are able-bodied adults without dependents — people who may be like Greenslate. Able-bodied adults without dependents made up 10.2 percent of SNAP population in 2011, up from 6.6 percent in 2007. Federal law only allows such “ABAWDs” to receive three months of food stamps, but most states waive the requirement because of high unemployment. Research shows the doubling of food stamp rolls from 2007 to 2012 owes to the bad economy. But Republicans, led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), have emphasized the waivers. Thursday’s legislation would take the waivers away, thereby denying benefits to 1.7 million Americans next year. The legislation, in the unlikely event it becomes law in its entirety, would reduce SNAP enrollment by 3.8 million in 2014, according to the Congressional Budget Office . The House GOP bill will have to be merged with more moderate Senate legislation before any of it can become law. Greenslate said he’s not lazy, putting more than 40 hours per week into his band, Ratt Life , which has an album coming out in six weeks. He said Fox found him through a friend. He cooperated with three days of the network’s filming in hopes his band could win some publicity.

Jason Greenslate, Food Stamp Surfer, Responds To The Haters

Vendors, which include local food-service outlets, as well as national brands such as Chipotle and Amy’s Organic, must meet Farm Aid’s criteria for sourcing the ingredients in their food, from organic flour in the panini to free-ranging, antibiotic-free hogs on the barbecue grill. Even the cotton candy has a family farm origin, made from maple syrup produced in the Catskills. “Farm Aid’s mission is about family farmers, and economic opportunity for family farmers is a really big priority of ours,” said Glenda Yoder, associate director of Farm Aid. “We also support good farming practices and rewarding farmers for those practices. So our Homegrown criteria call for food that is sourced from family farms that meet an ecological standard, and that returns a fair price to the farmer.” Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Dave Matthews and John Mellencamp lead the star-studded lineup this year, along with Jack Johnson, Carlene Carter, Toad the Wet Sprocket and about 10 other artists. The annual concert is the chief moneymaker for the Farm Aid organization Nelson co-founded in 1985 and leads as president. The beneficiaries of the organization’s year-round efforts are always featured prominently at the shows, with a Homegrown Village providing concert-goers a chance to meet local farmers, learn agrarian skills, and eat food from vendors who meet strict criteria set by Farm Aid. “We talk about saving the family farmer, but the fact is, it’s the family farmer who will save us all,” Nelson said at a media event before the gates opened at noon Saturday. Matthews gave a shout-out to activists wearing anti-fracking T-shirts at the media event, which was also open to many farmers, vendors and volunteers. “Don’t frack our farmlands,” Matthew said, to loud applause. Several anti-fracking groups from New York and Pennsylvania had a booth at the event, calling for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to continue the state’s moratorium on shale gas development that began in 2008. During a performance Saturday night, Pete Seeger modified a line of “This Land is Your Land,” declaring “New York was meant to be frack-free.” This year the village was set up on the expansive lawns of the state park surrounding the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The action there got going before the 10-hour concert. The village offered plenty of activities to help people get in touch with their inner farmer.