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Editorial: Rep. Welch slams farm bill

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Posted on May 17, 2018 |
By Angelo Lynn



Republicans in Congress said the tax cuts passed earlier this year would do great things for the economy and help individual Americans. While most Americans were opposed to it, Republicans nonetheless claimed it to be a huge accomplishment, and told us just to wait to see all the good that would come from it.

Well, the economy is churning along about like it had been in the last couple of years under the previous administration and, while the rich have definitely gotten richer, the wealth gap between the rich and poor has also gotten bigger. No surprises there. Anyone with second-grade math skills could have predicted as much.

But what those most opposed to the tax cuts feared, and what Republicans refused to admit, is now coming true: cuts to social services.

Republicans have already cut 24 million Americans off health care insurance. And now they are going after cuts to supplemental food provisions for those Americans in need.

Those services are contained in the annual farm bill, where Republicans and President Trump have proposed cutting $23 billion in nutrition benefits from children, veterans, the elderly and disabled who depend on that food to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We’re talking cuts to Meals on Wheels, food stamps and programs that provide meals for students who come to school hungry.

Americans should be outraged by the Republican proposal. Listen to Vermont congressman Peter Welch as he addressed his colleagues on the House floor earlier this week: “This farm bill is outrageous… It is a continuation of an effort to ratchet down any help that Americans need. This nutrition bill supposedly is going to help people by taking $23 billion worth of benefits away from children, veterans, elderly, and the disabled who need that food.

“Why? Well, there’s a reason. We passed a tax cut. And by the way, it wasn’t paid for. $2.3 trillion was added to the deficit for a tax bill where 87 percent of the benefits go to wealthy, multinational corporations and individuals earning over $890,000 a year. Well, the bill has come due and we have a proposal here to come up with $23 billion to pay for (just a small part of it) and in this case, that’s taking meals off the table of people in need… I'm from Vermont where we have lots of folks who need help and we have lots of Vermonters who, with very little money, with enormous volunteer effort, are doing things that put meals, good meals, on the tables of those families. Don't pass this farm bill that takes that nutrition away from our Vermonters and our American citizens.”

Or is this, the Republican way, what we are to expect under Trump and a GOP Congress that talks about helping the average Joe, but then does the opposite?

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