Republicans slash spending on needy | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Republicans slash spending on needy

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Sure enough. The Republican Mouseketeers of the Arkansas congressional delegation — Tim Griffin, Steve Womack and Rick Crawford — voted for an agriculture appropriation bill that cut the guts out of programs to help young mothers and children and the elderly.

U.S. Rep. Mike Ross announced his vote against the legislation and gave these reasons:

“Instead of slashing tax subsidies for big oil corporations or closing tax loopholes for corporations that ship our jobs overseas, Republican leaders continue to target vulnerable, hardworking Americans,” said Ross. “First, they came after our seniors by dismantling and privatizing Medicare for future beneficiaries. Then, they came after teachers and students, slashing Head Start, Pell Grant funds and Teach for America. Now, they’re coming after women, infants and children with drastic cuts to WIC. While we absolutely must cut spending, I refuse to vote for a bill that punishes our nation’s most vulnerable Americans who are already scraping to get by and who did nothing to get us into this fiscal mess in the first place.”

Specifically, the Republican spending bill would:

Drastically cut funding to Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, also known as WIC, which provides healthcare and nutrition for low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women and infants and children under the age of five.

According to the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, this drastic cut to WIC would deny service to as many as 3,800 women, infants and children in Arkansas.

Slash funding to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which provides food aid for low-income seniors.

Make major cuts to funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the agency charged with policing price speculation in commodities, futures and derivatives markets, such as oil markets.

I haven't heard if the mystery appropriation for protection of a rare azalea survived the final vote, but given the House Republican majority nothing would surprise me.

Griffin is proud of his vote on the bill and its cut in agricultural support in a farm state:

Today’s bill recognizes the serious fiscal situation our nation is in while at the same time helps ensure that Arkansas’s agriculture sector remains competitive in a worldwide economy, and that our food supply remains safe. It represents a 13.4 percent reduction in funding—returning agriculture spending to below FY2008 levels—and 22 percent below President Obama's requested funding level.

Crawford, who ran on his farm cred, is proud of slashing ag spending, too, for the "fiscal discipline":

The bill is not perfect. Provisions I favor, such as funding the Biomass Crop Assistance Program and upholding our commitments with trading partners, were left out of the legislation. However, I support the bill because it maintains the farm safety-net that ensures a strong, stable and safe food supply. The bill also eliminates burdensome and unneeded regulations that stifle innovation and only stand in the way of job creation.

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