Watch: Melissa Harris Perry Slams Lawmakers Who Want to Tie Welfare Benefits to Student Grades

Parents who receive TANF benefits would see their payments reduced by 30 percent if their children perform poorly in school.

Tennessee lawmakers have proposed an absurd bill that would punish parents who receive welfare benefits if their children perform poorly in school.

Republican State Sen. Stacey Campfield and Republican State Rep. Vance Dennis introduced legislation in late March that would reduce payments to parents who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families by 30 percent if their children do not make "satisfactory progress" in school.

Because why would lawmakers work harder to support parents in poverty when they can just punish them?

Meanwhile, as ThinkProgress pointed out,the state's maximum welfare benefit is $185 per month, which hasn't changed since 1996. So if parents even get the maximum benefit, this legislation would reduce it to under $130 for the month. Tough love I guess?

The Tennessee Clergy for Justice has created an online petition to strike down what they're calling the "Starve our Children" bill.

And fortunately, Melissa Harris Perry put the lawmakers in their place on Saturday.

Watch her take them down:

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Alyssa Figueroa is an associate editor at AlterNet.