In an attempt to balance the budget for the ever-important Farm Bill, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives voted yesterday to cut $39 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), essentially gutting food stamps in America. Although the budget still needs be reconciled with the version of the Senate’s version (cutting only $4.1 billion), and President Barack Obama has indicated that he would veto any version of the bill with such deep cuts, the actions of the House pissed off many, many progressives invested in SNAP’s continued existence — specifically, one Tom Colicchio.
Colicchio — whose secret night job involves being a member of the watchdog group Food Policy Action, an executive producer for the documentary A Place At The Table, and a frequent commenter on hunger issues — had recently been on Capitol Hill in a last-minute lobbying blitz, attempting to convince lawmakers to reject the steep cuts. The vote itself was extremely close: 217 to 200, with no Democrats voting for the cuts.
Upon learning of the House passing the bill, Colicchio, who would prefer to keep an admittedly imperfect system as it is, rather than cut benefits, was furious:
All house republican who voted for a 40 billion cut to SNAP are pro hunger
— Tom Colicchio (@tomcolicchio) September 19, 2013
And, when slammed with dozens of Twitter followers demanding that he shut up (it seems to be something that happens a lot), he spent the entire evening fighting back on social media, grilling a detractor on the percentage of recipients who abuse benefits and defending the current state of the program from people who’d prefer to see it restructured or eliminated. Though the future of SNAP and the Farm Bill remains unclear, Colicchio hopes that the House’s version will get struck down:
USDA Sec’y Tom Vilsack on today’s House vote on SNAP: no chance of becoming law (lets hope). http://t.co/mdZKIz0P7P
— Tom Colicchio (@tomcolicchio) September 20, 2013
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