US Speaker of the House John Boehner is taking aim at states like Connecticut that have moved to protect food stamps funding from the Farm Bill chopping block. Boehner says governors who have maneuvered to retain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program money (SNAP) are cheaters.
“Since the passage of the farm bill, states have found ways to cheat, once again, on signing up people for food stamps,” Speaker of the House John Boehner told Politico Thursday. “And so I would hope that the House would act to try to stop this cheating and this fraud from continuing.” Yes, according to the United States Speaker of the House, it’s cheating and fraud to try to make sure families don’t go hungry or have to choose between food and paying the rent and mortgage. Instead of Boehner himself crying, he’d rather see low income folks crying. It’s inexcusable, hard-hearted, and sad.
Under the Farm Bill, Governors need only increase the heating assistance to households, known as Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP), to qualify that household for food stamps. The increase can be as small as $1 to trigger the food stamps assistance. Five states besides Connecticut have made moves to save their food stamps–Montana, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island,
Gov. Dannel Malloy was unapologetic when he took the measures to save families from losing their food stamps. “Connecticut, for one, will not stand by while our low-income families and elders are put at risk by Washington politics…I have directed my administration to take all necessary measures to protect Connecticut beneficiaries of the federal SNAP program from the negative consequences of the Farm Bill,” The CT Mirror quoted Malloy as saying. Malloy increased LIHEAP funding by $1.4 million.
As The Hanging Shad reported last week, some critics of Malloy and other governors who made similar changes to their LIHEAP, had harsh words for those governors. “States [are] gaming the system,” Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) the Washington Post quoted as saying. “We didn’t expect that, or we would’ve written it in the language to prohibit it,” said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), chairman of the House Agriculture subcommittee that oversees food stamps and nutrition aid. The move, though legal, is “perverse, just perverse,” he said. Republican crafters of the Farm Bill wanted to save $8.6 billion over ten years with cuts in food stamps being a catalyst.