Conservatives need to revise their methods
The House of Representatives voted Thursday to cut $39 billion dollars from the food stamp program over the next 10 years, again highlighting the uselessness of their actions in attempting to pass legislation concerning the Farm Bill.
The Republican plan drew a line down party allegiances with a vote of 217-210. The legislation did not gain support from a single Democrat while 15 Republicans voted against the measure. Democrats said the cuts would take away a necessary safety net for millions of Americans, but Republicans argued that the bill would restore the program’s original eligibility limits and preserve the safety net for the truly needy.
The need for major cuts in the food program is evident, and Republicans are right to try to bring the program back to its original eligibility limits.
In the past decade, the program has exploded in scale. According to the Department of Agriculture, in 2001, the program served 17 million people at a cost of just over $15 billion. By June of this year, there were 47.8 million people enrolled in the program, and annual costs were about $75 billion.
But, conservative leaders need to understand that though their philosophy is correct, the method of enforcing it needs to be revised. To take away this assistance will be a much more difficult process than it was to give it out. And, the lack of compromise in legislation such as this is beginning to ostracize moderate conservatives whom GOP members do not want to upset, namely America’s farming community.
Just after the vote on Thursday, American’s Soybean Association president released these statements: “This process has gone on for more than three years now, and we still have no long-term legislation in place. That is entirely too long. The current Farm Bill, which already been extended once by Congress, expires on September 30 and with it authority and funding for key market development, conservation, agricultural research, and price support programs. These are the real consequences of Congressional inaction, and we expect the House to appoint its conferees as soon as possible, and we call on both chambers to work across party lines to craft a bill that addresses the needs of both farmers and consumers.”
The general attitude in the farming community is nervousness over the cuts in the Farm Bill and frustration over the lack of compromise to get the bill passed so farmers know what to expect in the upcoming season.
Though moderate conservatives understand what the more radical members of the Republican Party are doing, many, such as our farmers, cannot afford to be held in a government deadlock because these politicians refuse to give up immediate idealistic ground.
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