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Debbie Stabenow supports tobacco subsidies, cuts in food stamps

by: Eric B.

Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 12:59:17 PM EST

This morning, Jeff Wattrick posted about an exchange he had with Rand Paul last week about ending tobacco subsidies. Unsurprisingly, the junior senator from Kentucky was less enthused about stopping the federal government from meddling in the free market when it applied to people who just might fire his ass. Turns out that Paul was part of a bipartisan voting block that rejected an end to government subsidies of tobacco. Debbie Stabenow, our own chair of the Senate ag committee, was part of that bloc (h/t Wattrick in a separate Facebook post).

That's not the only change in farm policy Stabenow was opposed to this last year. She also opposed reducing subsidies for crop insurance for the biggest, most wealthy farmers. Her argument in favor of it was somewhat odd.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) urged senators to reject the Durbin-Coburn amendment because she said large farmers might leave the program, which would cause crop insurance prices to go up on small farmers.

“They won’t go out because it’s still too much of a sweetheart deal,” Coburn said. “Let’s save some money and ask those who are more well endowed with profits to pay their fair share.”

That Coburn is Okalahoma Republican Tom Coburn, rejecting Stabenow's argument (one we've ridiculed for years), that if you raise the costs on a wealthy man a dime for a dollar's worth of benefit that he'll just quit and go home.

So, what kinds of Farm bill cuts does Debbie Stabenow support?

But the bulk of the $4 billion in cuts alluded to here — and the other $4 billion-plus agreed to in negotiations — is found through a change to the rule that currently allows families receiving SNAP assistance to qualify for additional benefits if they receive LIHEAP assistance to help with their utility bills. (If a state’s governor opts in to what is called the “heat and eat” program.) The heat and eat program — which boosts SNAP benefits for families receiving utility assistance — is based on the recognition that too many Americans are choosing between paying for food or paying for energy. Some states sign families up for $1 in heating assistance so that they then qualify for the additional food stamp benefits, decreasing the likelihood that they will face the “heat or eat” dilemma. According to Politico, the agreement between Senator Stabenow and Republican leaders would require $20 in LIHEAP assistance in order to receive additional SNAP benefits. That change would result in up to $8 billion in SNAP cuts. Currently, roughly 20 percent of eligible households receive LIHEAP, so there is little reason to believe that most states would step up to meet the $20 threshold for people who need it.

Keep this in mind as all of us are shivering through Arctic cold temperatures this week. Debbie Stabenow voted against ending insurance subsidies for tobacco farmers, and encouraged her fellow senators to vote against reducing farm subsidies for corporate ag. What she's all for is making it $19 more expensive for states to get their poor qualified for a boost in food stamps so Republicans can't call it a form of legalized food stamp abuse.

Madam, your priorities are, to put it mildly, a wee off.

Eric B. :: Debbie Stabenow supports tobacco subsidies, cuts in food stamps
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Both of our senators have lost their mojo (4.00 / 1)
In recent years, Carl Levin has effectively been John McCain's caddy on defense issues, and Stabenow has cast more than her share of DLC/Third Way votes.

I'm disappointed in both of them, but they're a symptom of an even bigger problem--namely, that the Democratic Party has sold its soul to Wall Street, big corporations, and the very wealthy.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

Stabenow is using her chair to sell out to corporate ag (4.00 / 2)
That's the Wall Street equivalent of food production. Also, what's good for corporate ag is by definition bad for family farmers. So, her argument that reducing insurance subsidies for corporate ag would hurt the family farmer is Orwellian double-speak. It's saying that helping a marketplace competitor is really giving you a competitive advantage.

What's particularly galling about this is that she grew up in one of the most impoverished parts of the state.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
it's time for glass-steagall (0.00 / 0)
they're a symptom of an even bigger problem--namely, that the Democratic Party has sold its soul to Wall Street, big corporations, and the very wealthy.

exactly right. the showdown over glass-stegall is coming. be there or be square.

Stabbenow should support glass-steagall and get on the right side of history. It's going to be made law with or without her vote.

Wall St. Genocide: Judge Rules To 'Bail-In' Detroit Workers' Pensions


America either revives its industrial base or it dies. There is no future for people in a post industrial America.  

[ Parent ]
Broadly speaking (0.00 / 0)
the concept of corporate agricultural subsidies is maddening.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

She (0.00 / 0)
She has been trying to cobble something that would pass both chambers together for years, now.  It's unfortunate, but if anyone actually thinks that she's for a lot of the sh%t in the bill, they are fooling themselves.  This whole process is insane, and it just shows what you think you have to do if you're a committee chair in a divided Congress.

She advocated for much of it, and voted in favor of the rest (0.00 / 0)
Your position isn't what you say it it. It's what you do. Debbie Stabenow voted in favor of all this, and endorsed insurance subsidies for the wealthiest farmers to fellow senators who were skeptical that the wealthiest farmers needed it. This includes at least one Republican.

She's also trying to gloss over millions of dollars in cuts to food assistance by saying that it's about preventing lottery winners from collecting food stamps.

Anyone who thinks words are more important than votes is fooling themselves.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
another cut in food stamps is genocide (0.00 / 0)
food stamps were just cut. there are no jobs to take up the slack. another round of food stamp cuts is preposterous and really just means death to a lot of people. it is time to be frank about the real ramifications of these policies.

America either revives its industrial base or it dies. There is no future for people in a post industrial America.  

[ Parent ]

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