National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Food stamp denial for convicts the worst part of the 'farm bill'

 |  NCR Today

The "farm bill" is close to leaving both House and Senate committees and moving to the floor for votes. It's a five-year bill, and last year, the House failed to deal with it.

This year, the Senate bill cuts $400 million a year in food stamps, and the House bill cuts $2 billion a year. Both bills also cut some farm subsidies, but they both also increase crop insurance in a complex formula that may increase farm subsidies overall.

From my perspective, the worst part is a Senate amendment that would deny food stamps to people convicted of murder and sex offenses. People with felony drug convictions, including possession of small amounts of marijuana, are already banned from food stamps, but 40 states have opted out of that ban. This is a denial of second chances and a piling on of collateral consequences that severely impacts families. No matter what these men and women have done in the past, they are out on the street now. Employers deny them work as a matter of course. It is wrong, stupid and mean to deny them food as well.

envelope-gray-background.jpgLike what you're reading? Sign up for NCR email alerts.

Minnesota Public Radio has a full account of the food stamp bill. The Washington Post has a full account of the politics involved. The New Orleans Times-Picayune describes the amendment to ban food stamps for felons.

Sometimes, it seems like the best hope is for Congress to fail to act.

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

July 18-31, 2014

07-18-2014_0.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.