PostScript: Milbank and snipping SNAP

A store in Florida hopes to attract SNAP recipients. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

A store in Florida hopes to attract SNAP recipients. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

House Republicans could not bring themselves to pass the food-stamps-and-farm-subsidies bill but passed just the farm subsidies part just fine yesterday. It looks pretty heartless, in Dana Milbank’s column, for the lawmakers to focus first on hungry farm businesses and second, if at all, on hungry people.

And so it does, most commenters agree, look heartless. But several have alternate explanations, other than simple unwillingness to care about SNAP –Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – recipients.

flyover22 thinks the combined bill is a compromise that keeps people from thinking criticially about the programs on their own:

I like this “misfire”. Sixty years ago, Farm Bill’s rural “pork” added city “pork” (food stamps) to get the urban support. It was an insignificant line on the Farm Bill at that time. As food stamps program grew, the food stamps on the farm bill insured the rural areas got their “pork” as well. This is an “eye for an eye” bill with “pork”, earmarks, and overspending for all. Now food stamps are the majority of the Farm Bill.

The farm bill can stand alone. The Food Stamp program can stand alone. Focused bills would provide better government, understanding, and transparency.

Jim Hale, too, has faith the House will take up food stamps, just not right now:

The House GOP is not trying to eliminate SNAP. They are just insisting that it stand on its own.

ecrutle thinks the separation is for the best as well:

Splitting SNAP from Farm Subsidies was designed to separate the tail that had grown so large it not only wagged the dog, it now weighs about 80% of the dogs total weight. As a standalone budget item, honest and open debate about its meteoric growth would have become another entitlement for the left to defend…and that’s what they really don’t want.

tacitus0 says the GOP’s goal is not to cut food stamps at all, just be able to make a bunch of speeches against food stamps without anything really changing:

What Milbank and others are missing in the Reps decision to cut Food Stamps is the fact that it is simple political grandstanding. They are playing to their base. They know that the Senate will never allow food stamps to be eliminated so they could safely vote to eliminate them without actually hurting anyone. They can claim to be the champions of small government, personal responsibility, and lower government spending without taking any of the risks involved in actually doing those things. This is the privilege of the minority party. They can be outrageous with out any consequences. How’s that for personal responsibility?

The question is will their support with white, rural, low income voters be as high when they don’t have President Obama to oppose?

dilburt also thinks it’s an electoral strategy to demand food stamp cuts:

I guess there is certain logic. [Food stamp recipients] surely won’t vote Democratic if they starve to death!

indy77 thinks it might come back to bite the GOP:

A large percentage of food stamp recipients are White southerners. They generally vote Republican.

But that makes walkadee5 see food stamp cuts as an electoral advantage for Democrats:

Liberals scream at the top of their lungs that Republicans represent the majority of food stamp recipients…so what is the problem? Republicans are just cutting off the people you liberals hate. So calm down. You’re getting your way, idiots.

raschumacher notices historical implications of a well-off powerful sector dismissing the problems of hunger:

How appropriate that the GOP passes a welfare plan for agribusiness and wealthy landowners while denying the hungry poor on the eve of Bastille Day.

It’s not the eve yet, so PostScript has another day to translate “let them eat farm subsidies” into French.

Also on PostPartisan

The Insiders: Prudence in the House, fireworks in the Senate