MSNBC Guest: Is Newt Gingrich ‘The Food Stamp Speaker’?

Newt Gingrich has inspired applause, jeers and more than a few headlines by touting himself as the “jobs and paycheck president” in contrast with Barack Obama, whom he’s referred to as the “food stamp president.” But, according to managing editor Joy-Ann Reid, there are two people responsible for the rise in food stamps today: Bob Dole and… former Speaker Gingrich.

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Dole, she told MSNBC, sponsored the 1977 bill to change food stamps from something one could purchase to something one was given by the government. And, in 1996, Gingrich championed welfare reform and the creation of TANF. TANF, or “Temporary Assistance to Needy Families,” imposed a five-year limit on cash benefits for families, put forth tighter limits on who could obtain food stamps (most immigrant, for example, became ineligible for the program), and established that welfare recipients had to obtain employment within two years. Because TANF cut cash benefits, people needing the same amount of food ended up using a larger number of food stamps for their groceries.

So, “in a sense,” she said, “he’s the Food Stamp Speaker of the House.”

Have a look, via MSNBC:

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