The House Farm Bill passed. Now let’s look at the Senate bill.

The 2018 Farm Bill passes the House last Thursday by a very narrow margin. 213 yeas to 211 nays. If you’re interested in seeing if your rep was on the yea or nay side of this, go here: Final Vote on HR2, June 21,2018

This bill cut $19 billion from SNAP which equates to serving around 2 million low income, food insecure people. It imposes stricter work requirements that can’t be opted out by states.  Instead of giving working families a little relief when they finally get their heads above water, it imposes a strict benefits cliff that cuts off benefits to those who’s income rises even slightly above the income eligibility limit. People formerly incarcerated for certain crimes are banned for life from receiving SNAP.  It also adds a ton of paperwork and reporting that will not only be expensive for states to implement but just complicates the application process. There are already under served low income folks not applying for SNAP because of the process and a lot of caseworkers are less able to act like social workers because of the amount of clerical business involved.

The Senate has introduced it’s own version of the Farm Bill  that avoids all the mean stuff and instead expands the programs they know help and introducing pilot programs to improve healthy food access. It makes things easier for disabled and elderly people allowing them to certify for 3 year periods and tweaks the EBT system so it’s more reliable.

In short, this is a bill that recognizes that SNAP works and strengthens it instead of hurting low income families. This bill will probably be voted on this week so call your Senators and tell them to vote YES on the Farm Bill.  There is a form letter here you can submit or call direct using 888-398-8702 or their office number.

As always, if you’re someone who hates making calls & deals with some anxiety over it, it’s helpful to write yourself a little script of what your going to say. This is a great tip sheet for phone calling with anxiety: How to Call Your Reps When You Have Social Anxieties

[today’s post brought to you by my delicious dinner of chicken stir fry that SNAP helped to purchase the ingredients for]

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7.5.17

Healthcare: tweeted the other day about Senate quietly pushing for a change in the new bill that would allow states to eliminate Medicaid entirely. Read the whole thread here

basic income: Rutger Bregman’s TED talk “Poverty isn’t a lack of character;It’s a lack of cash”
There’s a lot in this TED talk that poor people already know (but no one listens to us). Like that poor people aren’t stupid but the stress and conditions of poverty make them do stupid things. Like that the best way out of poverty is to give people money, not for rich people to send them teddy bears and shoes. Unconditional basic income is how to end poverty.

 

 

wages: Missouri Republicans Lower St. Louis Minimum Wage From $10 To $7.70.  

LOWERED minimum wage. Those same Republicans probably won’t understand why more people will now be applying for assistance. “Get another job or two, slackers”

podcast: Radio Free Dystopia–  Dystopian fiction is my jam so of course I was going to love this podcast immediately.

A podcast about what we learn when facts and dystopian fiction start to look the same. Join dystopian novelist Toby Ball, journalist Meg Heckman and assorted guests as they talk about authoritarianism, free speech, environmental decay and what it means to commit acts of resistance. Also: Power, privilege, freedom and – perhaps most importantly of all – hope.

soundtrack: “Tin Foil Hat”, Todd Rundgren feat Donald Fagan

It’s about you-know-who

 

 


Was reading these links kind of a bummer? I do these nearly-daily link roundups at my other blog,too, and those are a lot happier and prettier.

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The War on Poverty…the war on the hungry (and other recent news bits)

Poverty in the news .

One Wisconsin food stamp bill signed while a second remains stalled – That junk food bill Scott Walker introduced is flawed and therefore, faltering. with the new proposal that prohibits more than 15% of groceries brought with EBT from being spent on “unhealthy” food, there are far too many limitations on what can be purchased. The foods that qualify as healthy are only the foods that can be purchased with WIC, which is a limited list.

Georgia food stamp rolls grow

Over 15% of America was on Food Stamps in April 2013

Meanwhile…
Paul Ryan organized The War on Poverty: A Progress Report , in which he  stated that we are losing the war on poverty and need to know why…then called witnesses for the Republicans who made it obvious that they don’t know the first thing about poverty and probably shouldn’t be talking in the first place. University of Maryland professor Doug Besharov, director of the American Enterprise Institute’s Social and Individual Responsibility Project was there to talk about the incentives to get people out of poverty ….but he doesn’t even know what the minimum wage is in the country. The only Democratic witness was a nun, Sister Simone, who defended The Safety Net (welfare programs) and was asked questions about the morality of feeding people.

As David R Henson writes in The Shameful Neighbor: Food Stamps, Stereotypes and the War on the Hungry     “There is no war on poverty in this country. There is no war on hunger.Instead, there is a war on the poor and a war on the hungry.”

-In another article I read this week about poverty being at “shocking” levels, a Professor seemed to think that as the race ratio of poverty balances and more white folks become impoverished, the issue will receive mainstream attention and see solutions manifest. As Hensen points out, the poor are vilified as being lazy, good for nothing , failures and burdens on society that are shamed and ridiculed. I see this happen with poor people, period. The race balance isn’t going to change that.

NYC Mayoral Candidates Talk Food Stamps and School Lunches   I think if I was a New Yorker, I’d pay attention to this in the interest of not ending up with another Bloomberg.

Wal-Mart costs taxpayers about $900,000/year due to low wages – I don’t know if it’s practice anymore but at one point, Wal Mart would routinely urge employees to apply for medicaid and food stamps.

This is fairly true for every fast food and big box corporation. Detroit’s Moo Cluck Moo and Trader Joe’s  are great examples of the exception that should be looked at and emulated,
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