According the Huffington Post, a group of Democratic representatives from the House held a press conference on Tuesday to implore their colleagues to take action to prevent the drastic food stamp cut that kicks-in on Friday, November 1. Yet, the article suggests that these representatives actually voted for the cuts, via their votes for earlier legislation that drew from the food-stamp budget.
The bills, which prevented teacher layoffs and created a federal free-lunch program, were supported by democrats “begrudgingly” In a 2010 letter from Congressional Democrats to then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, they said, “we are now forced to choose between jobs and healthcare or food for hungry people. This is one of the most egregious cases of robbing Peter to pay Paul, and is a vote we do not take lightly.”
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Still, no action was taken and then the Republicans took the house, bringing in a bevy of new blood. According to The New York Times, GOP leadership put forth the bill last September that made the cuts official “under pressure from Tea Party-backed conservatives,” but cited decreasing joblessness as the justification for the cuts, despite the fact that nearly a third of food-stamp recipients are employed.
Although there are many anecdotal claims of welfare fraud, there is little empirical evidence to back that up. However, perhaps rather than working to prevent the food stamp cuts, Democrats in Congress should instead turn their attention to the issue of increasing the minimum wage. Historically, Americans support the idea of higher wages over government handouts, and increasing the minimum wage significantly could address the needs of those who work in low-paying jobs whose wages have not kept pace with the cost of living.