CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Having split the farm bill and passed fat subsidies for large agricultural corporations, Republicans in the House of Representatives are now choking on funding SNAP, formerly known as food stamps.
The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, possibly up for a vote today in the House, is facing a $40 billion cut over the next 10 years. Between 4 and 6 million people would lose help buying groceries.
This is the exact opposite of everything known to be good for children, let alone struggling workers, and aged and disabled people living on fixed incomes and their communities.
It is hardly a surprise that inadequate food in babies and children is associated with more stomach aches, headaches and colds than in well-fed children. Hunger also goes along with higher rates of hospitalization, iron deficiency anemia and chronic health problems, the research group Child Trends pointed out recently.
But too little food is also associated with insecure attachment relationships, poor cognitive development and more behavioral problems in 3-year-olds; psychosocial deficits in school-aged children; and more anxiety and depression and higher rates of symptoms of depression and suicide in teens. Children who do not get enough food make smaller gains in math and reading achievement between kindergarten and third grade and are more likely to repeat a grade in elementary school.
Food insecurity, particularly during the early grades, harms a number of traits important to learning, including interpersonal skills, self-control, attentiveness, persistence and flexibility. Children whose families don't always have enough for everyone are prone to being overweight for reasons that are not perfectly understood.
So, naturally, some GOP members of Congress want to cut a successful and effective program such as food for poor people. It's glaring evidence of how the party of the rich endlessly sabotages aid for little folks.
The Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate probably will reject a $40 billion cut in food help -- which will leave Congress deadlocked in yet another partisan stalemate.
SNAP works exactly as intended. Food stamp costs increased during the Great Recession, both because more people qualified and because Congress temporarily extended benefits to help families during the economic downturn. It makes sense to continue helping families who are still recovering.
Have you ever heard a member of Congress who didn't exalt the good people of their districts as the best workers? Or the most-valuable resource? Or that children are the future?
This House vote will show which ones actually believe it.