The heartless House

Doug LaMalfa casts another vote to gut the federal food-stamps program.

In another chapter in Washington’s annals of wasted time and energy, House Republicans passed a bill that would scale back the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $40 billion over the next decade, which would eliminate food stamps for millions of current recipients.

Under the bill, savings would be realized in a number of ways. First, it would allow states to implement new work requirements and limit the food-stamps allotment for certain adults without dependents to three months. Additionally, it would require recipients take drug tests to qualify.

The merits of the bill, of course, were lauded by the same people who regularly extol family values, charity and other Christian teachings.

Voting in lockstep with his right-wing compadres was none other than our esteemed local Congressman, Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale), a conventional rice farmer who evidently has no problem taking food out of the mouths of low-income families. Meanwhile, his own family has made millions of dollars from corporate welfare in the form of farming subsidies—$5 million since 1995.

In June, LaMalfa voted for a farm bill that would have cut $20 billion from the program while increasing farm aid. But other Republicans dug in their heels, refusing to pass that bill. They wanted deeper cuts. So, they drafted this new bill on food stamps alone.

Under it, as many as 4 million of the nation’s neediest people would be disqualified from SNAP benefits next year, followed by about 3 million each year thereafter. Some of those people, should the bill pass, would be LaMalfa’s constituents.

But this bill has absolutely no chance of making it in the Senate. It’s a monumental waste of time, and demonstrates only how heartless and obstinate federal Republican leaders have become in recent years.