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Senate passes major farm bill

by Kent Covington
Posted 12/12/18, 10:13 am

The Senate voted 87-13 Tuesday in favor of a sweeping agriculture bill that will fund key farm safety-net programs for the next five years. The House is expected to pass the measure soon and send it to President Donald Trump for his signature. The legislation sets agricultural and food policy and provides $400 billion dollars in farm subsidies, conservation programs, and food aid for the poor. It also legalizes the cultivation of industrial hemp, an initiative championed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. One thing the bill doesn't have: tighter work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as food stamps. Trump championed the requirements, but they became a major sticking point during negotiations, and the bill ultimately passed with no changes to SNAP.

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  • OldMike
    Posted: Wed, 12/12/2018 01:07 pm

    While I’m sure the SNAP program (formerly Food Stamps) is vital assistance to many poor people, I suspect it also is abused by some who don’t actually qualify. I also suspect it is possible for some who aren’t truly needy to qualify legally.  A number of times over the years I’ve witnessed people using food stamps or SNAP cards, who were expensively dressed, and who drove away in newer vehicles than I own. 

    But I'm sure any effort to tighten up requirements would get little traction. 

  • Allen Johnson
    Posted: Wed, 12/12/2018 04:01 pm

    There are multiple, complicated problems with financial assistance to the poor. Having worked several years in social services primarily with poor families, and also having been an employer who has hired and managed hundreds, let me say this about work requirements.

    There are some people who have the physical and mental capacity to work who employers will not hire. Figure it out. For clues, employers have to make a profit in their business (government excepted), so have to have reliable, hard working employees. Employers care about safety, as accidents cause money, and druggies are risks, too. Employers care about workplace attitudes, and negative attitudes or an employee who does not shoulder his or her workload equitably hurts workplace morale.

    On the other hand, hungry children is deeply morally problematic, and hungry adults, even if irresponsible, need some measure of grace that does not contribute to their pathology.

  •  JC3's picture
    Posted: Wed, 12/12/2018 04:42 pm

    Sadly, the majority of churches have gladly given up their Biblical role to "care for the elderly and poor" when the government started taking over the churches' role in the welfare department.  The FAMILY used to be the first line of defense in helping the elderly and poor; however, the government/devil have played key roles in destroying the family worldwide.  The Church used to be the second line of defense in helping the elderly and poor-- people were truly down & out before they would ask the Churches for help and rarely did they cheat the Church.  Today the federal/state/local governments have replaced the welfare of the churches and few of the recipients think twice about cheating the government...while the churches have been relieved of their financial burden of welfare, to build mega-buildings & mega-programs rather than "care for the elderly and poor".  Lord help this self-focused, sinful nation!   

  •  JC3's picture
    Posted: Wed, 12/12/2018 04:57 pm

    It is extremely sad that President Trump doesn't know how to spell VETO like the last great conservative, constitutional president we had in Grover Cleveland.  Marvin Olasky did a fantastic interview with Garland Tucker in the February 06, 2016 issue of World Magazine concerning famous people who shaped our nation.  I repeat part of President's Cleveland's highlights because we will likely never have another great constitutionalist like him again-- especially when socializing today's farmers:

    Marvin O.-- You write about Grover Cleveland. A lot of homeschoolers who memorized the list of U.S. presidents remember that he messed them up by being both the 22nd and the 24th. He was the last conservative Democrat. He wanted a substantial reduction of the federal government and still holds the record for the number of vetoes by any president—over 500. He took on his own party, the press, the Republicans, whatever, when he thought he was right. If somebody would come to him and say, “You need to move toward the center,” he’d beat his fist on the table and say, “What good is it to be elected if you don’t stand for anything?”

    Some hated him. “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman, the South Carolina governor and senator, got his name in part by saying he wanted to prod Grover Cleveland’s 300 pounds with a pitchfork. These were not the good old days of everyone being sweet campaigners. Tell us about the 1887 Texas Seed Bill, and what that says about Cleveland’s understanding of how to fight poverty. Texas had a drought and farmers needed seeds so they could plant next year’s crop—the whole appropriation was $10,000 [the equivalent of $250,000 today]. Cleveland vetoed it and said no matter how worthy the cause we should not do what the Constitution doesn’t prescribe. He also said the problem would be better handled by charitable gifts, and within 30 days of his veto the charitable gifts had come in, 50 percent more money than farmers were going to get from the government bill. If you go back and read Cleveland’s short veto messages, just a couple of paragraphs, you’d have a hard time imagining any politician today uttering those words, particularly for something like seed bills.

    As one of the famous Christian/Constitutional organizations says in their motto, "We need less government, more responsibility, and with God's help a better world will result."  We need more constitutionally educated voters and more politicians with a backbone like Grover Cleveland!  Turbo-prayer time.