It seems that the latest group to fall victim to the bitter divide between Republicans and Democrats is the American poor—most specifically those who receive food stamps. With a potential government shut down looming on the horizon, those in Washington have been working to agree on a budget that will hopefully work to drastically cut the deficit. But how far, as a country, are we willing to go to cut spending and is a balanced budget worth it if it comes at the expense of millions of Americans?
Since the sequestration, there have been many budgets cut to both defense and non-defense sectors of government services. But there has been a long debate between House Republicans and Democrats about what cuts should be made to social services. This food stamp bill proposed by the GOP hopes to decrease government spending and would cut 40 billion dollars in food stamps over the next 10 years. The bill requires that all abled-bodied people between 18 to 50 find a job or enroll in job training before being eligible for food stamps. The bill also limits the time they can receive food stamps to just three months. The legislation would also keep those who receive other social welfare from being automatically available for food stamps and allow states to require drug testing for food stamp recipients.
This bill is perhaps the greatest illustration of how partisan America has become; the vote was a close 217 to 210, and not one single Democrat voted to support the bill. This bill is sure to create a clash within the Senate and will cause American politicians to once again become embroiled in a battle over party lines.
But the people most affected by this bill are not on Capitol Hill. The people who will feel these cuts are American children, families and workers who have always looked to their government to protect them and have now been betrayed by the very people they elected. Currently 48 million people depend on food stamps, and soon 3 million people could lose their benefits and another 850,000 people could feel the effects of deep cuts. This comes at a time when nearly half of all Americans are living below the poverty line, and the wealth gap only continues to widen. Those who depend on food stamps are not free loaders, as some political rhetoric would lead you to believe, but instead mothers and fathers who work multiple jobs, yet still cannot make enough money in this economy to feed their children. Targeting food stamps is not the answer. There is actually only about 3 percent of monetary waste that comes out of the system. Most of the funding actually helps people that need it. There are many other departments that are notorious for waste that the House is hesitant to take on.
The United States, which has been known for centuries as the country that provides the most for its people, may now have many people going hungry. The House may say that this bill is to benefit the average taxpayer, but it does so by exploiting hard working Americans and their children. This bill is another troubling sign that the United States is becoming a nation divided. While once known for our brotherhood, now it seems that we are turning against each other. The food stamps program is a symbol of how Americans take care of each other, and cutting it is simply the wrong thing to do. This is no longer a Red or Blue issue. For average Americans, food stamps are not a spot for partisan politics.
*The views in this article represent the opinion of the author, and not those of CisternYard News.