Republicans in the House of Representatives hit a snag in trying to pass an obscenely regressive food stamps bill, thanks to opposition by Democrats.
As HuffPost’s Arthur Delaney reported on Friday:
Earlier this week House Agriculture Committee chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas), the Republican in charge of writing new food stamp legislation, postponed releasing his bill in order to win Democratic support first. But on Thursday Democrats abandoned the negotiation.
“The Democratic members have made clear that they unanimously oppose [Conaway’s proposal] as it has been described to them and reported in the press,” Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), the top Democrat on the committee, said Thursday evening.
Wow, will you look at that—Democrats actually playing hardball with Republicans and (potentially) getting concessions out of it! What a welcome change of pace!
According to Representative Collin Peterson, the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, Conaway’s bill would kick some 8 million people off of food stamps. (Almost 70% of SNAP recipients are families with children.)
HuffPost’s story also included this particularly ghoulish quote from Representative Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio (emphasis added):
Jordan said he hadn’t seen Conaway’s bill, but that if it kicked an extra 8 million people off food stamps, “that certainly sounds like it’s moving in the right direction.”
Bad! Why would you feel compelled to work with someone like this—someone who finds the Grinch most relatable during the first three-quarters of How The Grinch Stole Christmas?
But because the Democrats acted as a bloc and refused to come to the negotiating table, Conaway can either 1) pass his food stamps bill through the House with only Republican support and see it likely fail in the Senate; 2) seek political cover by waiting until after the November midterms to bring up the bill; or 3) go back to the drawing board and try to come up with a slightly less heinous proposal.
The Republican Party wants to take benefits away from poor people in this country and make sure their existences are as miserable as possible—they have made this part of their platform exceedingly clear. Poor people, and anyone with an iota of empathy for their fellow man, do not want Republicans to do that. The way to stop Republicans from taking away benefits for poor people and further cutting the strings of the social safety net is to stop working with them.
Since the presidential election, Americans have made abundantly clear that they like their benefits and would actually prefer Republicans not strip them away. They don’t actually give a shit about elected Democrats working across the aisle for an only slightly more palatable compromise with Republicans if it will make their lives worse. Most American voters do not actually work at Third Way. They care about issues that affect them and their loved ones—like a living wage and affordable health care—not some West Wing shadow play of bipartisanship.
Obstruction works—just ask the Tea Party.