Food stamp funding safe, but program needs reform

August 5, 2013 

  • At issue: July 30 Herald-Leader editorial "Ky. Republicans should know food stamps feed their young and elderly constituents"

The Herald-Leader's most recent round of misleading and false assertions that the House GOP would "take food from the mouths of hungry children" are not only inaccurate, but show a lack of knowledge and research regarding a subject that is vital to many Kentucky families. Specific to this case, the editors of the Herald-Leader should have a basic understanding of the difference between authorizing and appropriations legislation.

Funding for beneficiaries on food stamps is automatically covered through the annual appropriations process. This means that House passage of a farm bill without a food stamps title does not eliminate spending on food stamps, as the editors would have readers think. Either the editors are so committed to pushing a divisive partisan agenda that they don't perform due diligence to learn the details, or they are deliberately misleading their readers. Neither is acceptable.

Furthermore, if the Herald-Leader editors were correct in their assertions, then Rep. John Yarmuth also voted against "feeding (his) needy constituents" since he did not support the first version of the farm bill that did in fact authorize funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

We supported both versions of the farm bill because we believe we must strengthen our social safety net for those who need it by reforming our broken food stamp system that, according to the Obama administration, has sent $2.7 billion in improper SNAP payments so far this year. It is irresponsible for us to allow our federal government to misuse such a large sum of taxpayer dollars and we are barely halfway through the year.

Reforming the food stamp program is not about being "spiteful" or denying people benefits; it's about eliminating the waste that prevents Kentucky families who truly need help from getting it. Keeping the U.S. Department of Agriculture from spending hard earned taxpayer dollars on paid radio and television advertisements for food stamps, and tightening restrictions preventing lottery winners from receiving food stamps, will ultimately free up scarce resources to ensure Kentuckians who are truly in need, including our children and most vulnerable, are first in line.

The sad reality is that more Kentuckians need food stamps today because of President Barack Obama's war on coal and policies like Obamacare that are preventing employers from hiring. We will continue fighting to restore accountability for government programs so we can ensure Kentuckians' hard-earned tax dollars help those who need them the most.


At issue: July 30 Herald-Leader editorial "Ky. Republicans should know food stamps feed their young and elderly constituents"

Reps.Hal Rogers, Ed Whitfield, Brett Guthrie and Andy Barr, respectively, represent Kentucky's 5th, 1st, 2nd and 6th Districts.

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