Republicans Plan Major Blow to Hungry Families in Farm Bill - And Line Up a Billionaire Giveaway

Every now and then, a headline gets it exactly right. Like this one from CNN: "House farm bill seeks to restrict food stamp benefits while allowing subsidies for billionaires." It’s not over-the-top hyped up but it draws a real clear contrast between how low-income families and billionaires are being treated by Congress. House Republicans continue their push to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and institute harsher work requirements (even though the program already has work requirements for people who aren’t elderly, disabled, or parents). But billionaires? Republicans want to repeal rules blocking absentee billionaires from receiving piles of farm subsidy cash.

The current draft of the farm bill would exempt pass-through businesses—remember that particular form of rich person’s tax shelter from last winter’s tax scam fight?—from counting against means testing requirements to receive farm subsidies.

"It'a basically cronyism," said Daren Bakst, a Senior Research Fellow in agriculture policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

"Someone in Beverly Hills might be getting a check because somehow they're 'farming' in Iowa," Bakst added.

Republicans also plan to allow first cousins, nieces, and nephews of these “farmers” to qualify for farm subsidies if they do any backbreaking farm work like participating in a conference call every now and then.

Some of the Republican members of Congress out there touting the importance of stricter work requirements on SNAP are themselves raking in farm subsidies:

Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-Louisiana, who has received $444,640 in federal farm subsidies, lauded the SNAP work requirements, saying that they will "help people break out of the cycle of poverty and climb the economic ladder."

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-South Dakota, who has received $573,568 in federal farm subsidies, said the bill "establishes real work requirements for our nutrition programs," and is a "big step in the right direction."

If you already have a lot, Republicans want you to have more. If you’re struggling, they want to add to your burdens

The farm bill already failed once in the House, so probably nobody knows where this is headed—but even if these provisions don’t become law, it’s vital to remember that Republicans wanted them.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.