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Letter: A GOP assault on food stamps

I was disgusted while listening to the posturing members of the Millionaires’ Club — aka Congress. A Republican representative from Georgia complained that staff members would become rich by lobbying later but he would be restricted to a congressman’s salary of only $172,600!

 Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) came to the floor with food props to shame Republicans who wanted to cut $40 billion from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food stamps. Her props represented fringe benefits of congressional junkets. Steve King (R-IA) fits the description of the congressman who went to Russia for six days while our taxes paid $3,588 for his food and lodging. This congressman, according to Speier, has 21,000 people on SNAP. The Des Moines paper indicated a recipient of SNAP could live for 881 days on the amount he spent for six days in Russia.

 Formally, the farm bill has had two purposes — subsidies for the farmers and agribusiness and SNAP for the hungry. This year the House passed the subsidy bill before they took their month off. John Kline received in 2012 money through his wife’s 20 percent interest in Sheldon Family Farms. With only a week left in the fiscal year, the House cheered as they passed the bill cutting $40 billion from food stamps.

 It is estimated that one person in seven suffers from “food insecurity” — “hunger”! For those who have tried the SNAP challenge of living on $4.50 a day for a period, they have found that they think only of food. The estimates of the people ineligible to receive assistance will vary from 3.8 to six million people. It is estimated that 33.1 million adults and 15.9 million children suffered from hunger when it was not a game. Fifteen Republicans voted against the cuts but unfortunately our Minnesotans were not so compassionate.

 When President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, he mentioned empathy as one of her characteristics. Immediately Republican senators condemned empathy as an undesirable trait. I assume that being able to understand and feel for the plight of someone less fortunate is not a native characteristic for some.