Misplaced Priorities

We already know that increased LIHEAP funding is off the table, despite reports yesterday that fuel oil costs for heating will rise substantially, and natural gas consumers may see their heating bills double. We also know that funding for educational financial aid took a big hit this past week. Now comes word that [...]

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We already know that increased LIHEAP funding is off the table, despite reports yesterday that fuel oil costs for heating will rise substantially, and natural gas consumers may see their heating bills double. We also know that funding for educational financial aid took a big hit this past week. Now comes word that while everyone was focused on TreasonGate this past Friday, congressional committee Republicans voted to substantially reduce funding for the USDA’™s foodstamp program in order to curb runaway spending by the GOP:

On a party-line vote, a Republican-run U.S. House of Representatives committee voted to cut food stamps by $844 million on Friday, just hours after a new U.S. Agriculture Department report showed more Americans are struggling to put food on the table’¦

This action comes at a time when more Americans than ever are dependent on some type of public assistance with feeding their families:

NEW YORK, NY, October 26, 2005 ï–¿–½ The number of New Yorkers receiving foodstamps rose by more than 11-thousand people last month’¦

‘¦and, strange that this vote came on the same day that the USDA reported a 5.2% increase of ‘œfood insecurity’ in American families – in other words, a lot of people worry about where their next meal is coming from. There is no dignity in making choices between food, adequate heat, or medical care, even though that’™s what many are faced with today – and we haven’™t even hit the winter months yet:

Nationally, 38.2 million households were food insecure in 2004 ï–¿–½ 11.3 percent of all adults and 19 percent of all children in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

Though dire, the numbers may not tell the whole picture, since they predate hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma and the surge in gas prices, said Bill Tibbetts with Crossroads Urban Center.

‘œActually, the overall picture right now is probably even worse than the numbers would indicate,’ Tibbetts said.

‘¦The report marks the fifth consecutive year food insecurity rates have risen and marks the biggest jump since 2000 ï–¿–½ numbers that frustrate advocates in light of threatened federal budget cuts to social service programs’¦

Still, folks such as Alaska GOP Senator Ted Stevens continue their Marie Antoinette impressions in Capitol Hill debates:

‘œI will put the Senate on notice ‘” and I don’™t kid people ‘” if the Senate decides to discriminate against our state, to take money only from our state, I’™ll resign from this body’¦’

What’™s Sen. Stevens so worked up about? If you don’™t know the answer to that question, you haven’™t been paying attention.

‘¦Carl Pope, in his personal ‘œblog’ on the Sierra Club’™s Web site Tuesday, quoted [Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa] Murkowski saying she found it hard not to take personally a recent attempt to rescind $223 million Congress approved for the bridge.

‘œI’™m sure she’™s right. Especially when her mother ‘¦ is one of the few private citizens who owns land on Gravina Island,’ Pope wrote’¦

‘¦Pope’™s blog entry was posted the day after the Senate voted 82-15 against rescinding $452.5 million worth of congressional earmarks for the Ketchikan bridge and another over Knik Arm near Anchorage’¦

Sunday, October 30th, 2005 by Richard Blair |
Category: Politics - U.S.

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