Does it surprise anyone that a Congressman from Oklahoma is leading the charge to cut the nation’s food stamp program?
U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, a Republican who chairs the House Agricultural Committee, is pushing a 2013 farm bill that could eventually cut $20 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program over 10 years. Lucas, who is from Cheyenne, represents Oklahoma’s 3rd congressional district.
The House is expected to begin voting on various aspects of the farm bill today. Even if the SNAP cut is passed, it faces an uncertain future in the Senate. President Barack Obama has even threatened to veto such a draconian cut.
Lucas’ bill would essentially mean 2 million people would no longer qualify for SNAP.
In recent years, there has been record-setting participation in SNAP. Nearly 900,000 people receive food assistance through SNAP in Oklahoma. The state’s entire population is 3.8 million. The state rate is higher than the national average and ranks 20th in the nation.
The bill would also eliminate some direct payments to farmers.
Lucas’ bill seems especially harsh given the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma that have left many people in need of all types of assistance from the federal and state government. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services, for example, recently offered food assistance for tornado victims with reduced SNAP eligibility requirements.
It’s a contradiction. Oklahoma continues to take massive amounts of money from the federal government in storm-related assistance as some of its politicians, such as Lucas, work to cut government programs like SNAP.