The dysfunctional 113th Congress is unloved, especially the radical controlling Tea Party arm of the Republican Party who extol ultra-conservatism wrapped in the cloak of Christian values.
How disingenuous. Consider this Christian value – feeding the hungry. Last month the House passed the Nutrition and Work Opportunity Act that would cut $39 billion in food stamp programs over the next 10 years. The Senate proposes only a $4 billion cut.
Democratic senators said the GOP bill would be dead on arrival in the Senate and that President Obama would veto it.
The House argues that waste is widespread among able-bodied adults amid runaway spending. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor defends the bill stating, "Able-bodied, under 50, will not be denied benefits if only they are willing to sign up for the opportunity to work." That is an insult to untold numbers of able-bodied Americans on food stamps who have been trying to find jobs but can’t. Other recipients include children, veterans, the disabled, and senior citizens. The majority of food stamp recipients are white.
Unfortunately, one in seven Americans use food stamps known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Congressional Budget Office figures by next year 4 million needy Americans would no longer be given assistance.
Four million Christian values down the drain.
The cuts will impact thousands of Missourians. The MDSS reports that more than 950,000 citizens are monthly food stamp recipients at a cost of $1.4 billion. Jackson County accounts for 124,383 recipients totaling $201.8 million with an average of $135 a month.
The cost of payouts from 2011 to 2012 jumped some $333 million and the numbers keep rising.
While officials with the Missouri’s Department of Social Services declined to speculate on pending legislation, one Independence charity worker, who wishes to remain anonymous, laments, "Government food stamps and our pantry help to feed hundreds of needy families including some military veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan What have we become as a nation?"
Government shut downs, debt ceiling deadlocks, sequestration, budget disparities, gun control, immigration, farm subsidies, medical device tax, food stamp cuts, and the obsession with repealing the untested Affordable Care Act - the negative beat goes on for a current Congress that prides itself on being the worst in American history.
What have we become as a nation? And about those Christian values?
I give you President John Adams’ toast, Independence forever.
Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at www.Jerryplantz.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.