WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSAU) - Congress has been unable to pass a comprehensive farm bill, and Thursday, the House of Representatives voted on a bill that would make deep cuts to spending in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as the SNAP card program which replaced the old food stamp program.
The vote was pretty much a party line vote, passing the House with Republican support and Democrat opposition.
One of the Democrats that voted “no” to H.R. 3102 was 3rd District Congressman Ron Kind.
Kind says there are better ways to save money in federal farm programs than to take food off the table for those that need it most. “It would adversely affect low income children, individuals with disabilities, seniors that rely on these food nutrition programs, and there are better ways of finding savings in the farm bill than going after the most vulnerable in our society.”
Ron Kind believes Congress should instead take away billions in subsidies to big agriculture, believing many of those corporations have a sweet deal while the little guy gets hurt. “There are tens of billions of dollars worth of savings that we can do there without jeopardizing crucial support for family farmers.”
The SNAP card program is used by many of the poor, disabled, and elderly. Kind says making the 40-billion in cuts under H.R. 3102 would drastically affect a lot of people. “Twelve percent of the population in our congressional district alone receives some form of nutrition assistance under this (farm) bill. If you cut it the way that they’re proposing, and it’s cutting into the bone, and this will definitely affect the ability of people to stay hunger free.”
Congressman Kind says, “It used to be that Members of both parties could agree that helping disadvantaged Americans buy food was good policy. Instead, the House majority is pursuing a dangerous political agenda that will compound the difficulty that many Americans are facing as they struggle to afford groceries.”
Although H.R. 3102 passed the House Thursday, Kind is confident the bill will not pass the Senate and will have to go to conference committee or be scrapped. For now, SNAP card users will not see any immediate changes.
NOTE: The entire interview with Congressman Ron Kind covers this issue, plus comments on the Affordable Care Act and the pending Continuing Resolution to keep government from shutting down. You can listen to it here in our WSAU Newsmakers Podcast section.