Tuesday, July 23, 2013

 

3 Texas Republicans under fire for vote against nutrition programs

|Blog ---
A California Democrat is taking aim at more than a dozen Republicans whose voted to cut food stamps from the farm bill — and whose families have benefited from agricultural subsidies in the past.


The families of 14 Republicans, including Texas Reps. Blake Farenthold, Randy Neugebauer and Mac Thornberry, have collected at least $7.2 million in farm subsidies over the years but opposed funding for nutritional assistance programs,  according to a report released Monday by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif.

The three Texans received about $35,500 in agricultural subsidies, though the state records the most payments out of any other state.

Farenthold told Texas on the Potomac that his family no longer farms the land that received the subsidies and that has not received subsidies since he was elected to Congress in 2010.

Miller, one of the most liberal representatives in Congress, blasted the members for jeopardizing food aid, specifically the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, to support self-interested policies. He calculated the group’s net worth at about $124.5 million.

“It is deeply alarming that some members of Congress are voting to provide themselves and wealthy special interests substantial farm subsidies while allowing  authorization for effective and badly-needed nutrition programs that benefit 47 million people across the country to expire,” the report reads.

Nearly three-quarters of those subsidies went to just two lawmakers — Rep. Stephen Fincher,  R-Tenn., and Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif. The pair collected $3.48 and $1.7 million, respectively, according to data from the lobbying firm Environmental Working Group.

For the first time in decades, the House passed an agriculture-only farm bill after members could not agree on cuts to nutritional assistance programs. The food aid comprised about 80 percent of the half-trillion dollar legislation’s total pricetag.

The Senate had already passed a farm bill to fund both agriculture and food stamps programs, and a conference committee must now combine the two before the Sept. 30 deadline.
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