Op-Ed from EWG: House Budget Hits Hungry Kids, Spares Fat Cat FarmersWed, 18 Mar 2015 15:43:46 CDT
Op-Ed Written By Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group Vice President of Government Affairs
House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga) put fat cat farmers ahead of hungry kids in his 10-year budget, cutting funding for food assistance by $140 billion over ten years and cutting farm subsidies by just $1 billion.
This outrageous budget proposal comes on the heels of new data showing that the farm subsidy "reforms" included in the 2014 Farm Bill will cost far more than forecast. At the same time, participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has begun to fall as job growth increases.
Some farm billionaires and millionaires annually receive more than $1 million in annual farm subsidies, which could total more than $12 billion in 2015.
Although farm income has fallen from record levels, average farm household income is forecast to top $113,000 in 2015 or nearly twice the income of an average American household.
But, rather than subject farm subsidies to reasonable limits, the House Budget Committee instead instructs the Agriculture Committees to balance the budget on the backs of the poor by cutting SNAP by roughly $140 billion or more than three times as much as the "heartless" cuts House Republicans proposed during the Farm Bill debate.
At the same time, House Agriculture Committee Chairman has begun a "top-to-bottom" review of SNAP even though the SNAP error rate has reached an all-time low and the farm subsidy fraud rate almost twice as high and rising.
Why are Republican leaders balancing the budget on the backs of hungry kids while giving fat cat farmers a pass? Modest reforms to farm subsidy programs, like those proposed by USDA in their 2015 budget proposal, would produce significant savings.
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