In supporting billions of dollars in cuts to federal food assistance, a U.S. House Republican from Tennessee and a fellow GOP member from California insist the government has no business feeding the hungry but themselves receive tens of thousands of dollars annually in farm subsidies.
House Agriculture Committee members Reps. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) and Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) both cite the Bible to argue that while individual Christians have a responsibility to feed the poor, the federal government does not.
Last year alone, Fincher’s farm received $70,574 and LaMalfa’s got $188,570.
The House is seeking far deeper cuts in food assistance than a $100 billion Senate version of the 2013 Farm Bill. Senators Debbie Stabenow, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Thad Cochran of Mississippi, the panel’s ranking Republican, attended last week’s Delta Council annual meeting at Delta State University in Cleveland to rally support for their bill.
The House version of the farm bill would cut $2 billion a year, or a little more than 3 percent, from the food aid program, which has more than doubled in cost since 2008, and in Mississippi has increased to the point that nearly one in four families rely on food stamps to put food on their tables. The Senate measure would cut slightly less than $1 billion annually from food stamps.
If the Senate and House fail to reach a compromise and agree to a five-year renewal, the nation’s farm policies will revert to those contained in original farm bill of 1949. Congress last passed a Farm Bill in 2008. That bill expired in 2012.
Read the report on the two House ag committee members who receive a huge amount of federal help but insist on denying assistance to everyone else.