On September 19, 2013 the Republican controlled House of Representatives voted 217-210 for savage 39 billion dollar cuts to the SNAP food assistance program designed to feed America’s hungry families. Just fifteen Republicans voted NO to the food stamp cuts, while all 195 Democrats who cast votes were unified in opposition to the cruel cuts. Among the 195 Democrats who stood beside American families in their time of need were Jim Matheson of Utah, Colin Peterson of Minnesota and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina. These three men are usually regarded as the most conservative Democratic members of the US House, but while they may be “Blue Dogs” they are not interested in seeing their constituents starve.
On the Republican side, 93.5 percent of the House members voted against hungry families. Just fifteen Republicans voted NO. Those Republicans with a conscience make up just a fraction of the party in the House. They were Shelley Moore Capito (WV) Michael Fitzpatrick (PA) Jeff Fortenberry (NE) Chris Gibson (NY) Michael Grimm (NY) Hanna (NY) Walter Jones (NC) Peter King (NY) Frank LaBiondo (NJ) Pat Meehan (PA) Gary Miller (CA) Chris Smith (NJ) David Valadao (CA) Frank Wolf (VA) and Don Young (AK). Jamie Herrera Beutler (WA) did not vote. Every other House Republican including John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan voted YES.
So while it is often fashionable to blame both political parties for the cruel morass in Congress, the parties are not equally culpable. The Republican Party is determined to punish America’s poor and working class households. That has become abundantly clear. The Republican Party is nearly unified in trying to take food out of the mouths of hungry families, while the Democratic Party stands steadfastly united in opposition to such a cruel and inhumane policy. The 2014 election is just over a year away and while the public is justifiably upset with the current Congress, today’s vote on food stamp cuts should make it clear where the problem lies. The Democratic Party stood firm in defense of America’s families, with every single voting member of the Democratic caucus coming down in opposition to brutal SNAP food assistance cuts. On the Republican side of the aisle, more than 9 out of 10 representatives decided in favor of letting American families fend for themselves by voting for savage reductions to the critically important SNAP program. They have abdicated their responsibility to protect the general welfare of their constituents and all 217 of the men and women who voted for this monstrosity of a bill should be voted out in 2014.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.