Food stamp spending exploding
Just as America hits $16 trillion in national debt, the Congressional Research Service reports that more debt is in the offing. When President Obama suspended the work requirements for food stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as part of his failed stimulus plan, it led to a massive expansion of the program. Participants in the food stamp program between the ages of 18 to 49 without children and not disabled are considered “Able-bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD).”
The ABAWD population went from 1.7 million participants in 2007 to 3.9 million in 2010. When the Obama stimulus provision was not re-enacted by Congress, the president issued work waivers to states. The gutting of welfare-to-work requirements helps to create dependency on government and guts a major provision in the Clinton-era Welfare Reform Act of 1996.
Sen. Jeff Sessions saving taxpayers money
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) raised a point of order this week against the Veterans Jobs Corps Act, S. 3457, because the bill spent $700 million more than the tax hikes in the bill generated. The vote was subject to a 60-vote threshold because it violates the Budget Act. A vote to continue debate on the bill sponsored by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) failed 58 to 40. Furthermore, this bill ended up containing a tax hike on corporations as a means to mask the true cost of this idea — which is in the billions.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) had an alternative version of the bill, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) did not allow full consideration. This is an election year and liberals in the Senate want to preserve the talking point that conservatives hate veterans, rather than stay in session a few more days to work out an agreement on a consensus approach to the veterans job crisis.
Sen. Sessions argued on the Senate floor this week that “Senator Burr has offered legislation that would help solve the problem of unemployment among veterans, and his doesn’t violate the budget.” Yet, the Senate refused to have a full and fair debate on this alternative approach.
Cheers to Ryan McCoy
Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-Utah) legislative director, Ryan McCoy, is leaving Lee’s staff to go back into the private sector in Utah. McCoy was “the energy behind many of my legislative goals,” Sen. Lee said on the Senate floor this past week. Conservatives are going to miss McCoy, but he has served the conservative movement well during his time in D.C. Good luck, Ryan!
Brian Darling is Senior Fellow for Government Studies at The Heritage Foundation (heritage.org).