August 16, 2013
Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to continue a 40-year tradition of passing a coupled farm subsidy and food stamp bill by stripping the nutritional assistance program from the bill completely in order to pass a much cheaper farm bill, assuring voters the food program would be addressed at a later date.
The separating of the bills came after Democrats in the House were strongly opposed to the original $20 billion in cuts proposed for the $80 billion program and House Republicans could not come up with a compromise.
With just under 800,000 of those recipients living in Kentucky, it would stand to reason that Kentucky’s representatives would be among those standing up against votes for such severe cuts to the program.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported last week that after the vote was taken without the food stamps bill attached, Rep. Hal Rogers, R-District 5, whose district is the nation’s second-poorest where over 60,000 households receive food stamps, voted with his party.
“I didn’t think it will have an adverse impact on my district,” Rogers said after the vote was taken.
Does Rep. Rogers really not realize that by separating the food stamp bill from the farm bill it makes it more susceptible to larger cuts, at a time when the program is needed by so many more families?
According to SNAP statistics, of the 32 percent of households in Rogers’ district that receive SNAP assistance, a quarter of those include at least one person 60 or older and half include at least one child.
With more layoffs just on the horizon, Perry Countians need to realize that more families will need to turn to their government for help and their representatives need to realize the same thing.
Hostility toward the program and those who receive assistance from it needs to end. This is not a “them against us” battle. The argument should not be “I shouldn’t be working to feed other people.” The conversations that need to be had among not only Perry Countians, but Eastern Kentuckians and Kentuckians in general, are how can we continue to feed those in need in our state and region, not how can we make them feel worse about the situation they may have just recently found themselves in.
Maybe these few lawmakers in other states who have taken it upon themselves to actually try to live the lives of their constituents depending on government assistance have got the right idea. Instead of overgeneralizing and becoming angry that the woman with three children at Walmart using her food stamp card also carries a cell phone, maybe those who criticize anyone accepting government assistance should realize they do not know what it is they are complaining about.
— The Hazard Herald