TRIGGER WARNING: It appears that several states are following the law as laid out in the new farm bill to… wait for it… help poor people eat!!!!1!1! Oh, the humanity!

Are you outraged? Are you clutching your pearls while your panties bunch themselves in a wad? We should have warned for earmuffs for all children, because the level of bamboozlement and chicanery and hoodwinkery should get a Political NC-17 rating, turning up the faux-rage to eleven… nay, to TWELVE. TWELVE WE SAY. TWELVE.

Sorry we are breaking such awful news to you. Despite the efforts of the GOP (and all too many weak-willed Dems) to cut food stamps by some $8 billion, states are finding ways to continue to provide food stamps, much to the petulant outrage of the GOP, per The Hill:

“I would hope that the House would act to try to stop this cheating and this fraud from continuing,” Boehner said.

Clearly. States are doing their best to eradicate child malnutrition, and This. Must. Be. Stopped. 

How are states doing it? Here’s the deal:

The idea behind the link [between low income heating assistance and nutrition assistance] was that low-income families should not have to choose between buying food and heating their home. But Congress has chafed at states that have sought to obtain more food stamp money by sending $1 LIHEAP checks to households that would not otherwise receive help.

So, class. We now have a puzzle. Previously, states could send $1 a month to a household, and they would receive the ability to buy food. Twirling villainous mustaches, Congressional aides labored deep in the dungeons of the Cannon House Office Building and came up with a solution: in order to link LIHEAP assistance to food assistance, states would have to send poors not $1 a month but $20 per month! Evil genius! There’s no way around it! Not even the fictional love child of James Bond and Sherlock Holmes could find a way out of this trap! Bravo, Congress. Bravo.

Yet in the weeks since President Obama signed the [farm bill reducing food stamps] in February, seven of the 17 states that currently send nominal LIHEAP checks have announced plans to increase that aid to $20 so they can continue to access additional funding from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Those states include Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Oregon, Montana, Massachusetts and New York. All of them, with the exception of Pennsylvania, have Democratic governors.

Holy donkey balls, Batman!! In addition to our continually changing pop culture references, it seems that some states have managed to find a way to help feed poor people, despite Congress’s worst intentions.

Why did these states do this? Have they never heard of the socialist hippie wandering around in the Middle East droning on and on about how the poor will always be with you? Don't they know to ignore the parts about loving people and being nice to people, even the poor and the outcast, like Andre 3000 or hookers or ancient-day IRS folks? Don’t they know that by feeding people, they are sticking a breadstick in the eye of god?!?

Surely, this must be costing states a ton of money, right Politico?

In some cases, the expense is small. Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana announced this week that his state will put forth just $24,000 in additional LIHEAP benefits to protect $2 million in additional SNAP benefits for more than 2,000 families of low-income households.

Wow. Bigger states like New York are gladly shelling out an additional $6 million to prevent $457 million in food stamp cuts. We in the chatcave are no mathletes, but seems like an investment of $6 million in state funds to receive $457 million in federal funds TO HELP PEOPLE BOTH EAT AND STAY WARM is a sound investment for a state that cares about its people. States rights and all, right Kansas Congresscritter Kevin Yoder?

Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) expressed anger Friday over the possibility that none of the cuts to the SNAP program would be realized…

He seems nice.

However, these states are simply following the law as it is written. We see no difference in this and taking advantage of some obscure tax break for wealthy people. In both cases, the federal government loses money (either the lack tax revenue coming in or federal dollars going out), and both cases seem to be legal. Of course, Iowa’s beloved Rep. Steve King sees it differently:

“We can’t have the governors of these states gaming the system and thumbing their noses at the United States Congress,” [King] said.

Dammit states, stop gaming the system! Stop hiring staffers that can read, and staffers who can do math! And most importantly, be more like Steve King and Kevin Yoder and stop caring about feeding poor children.

[The Hill / Politico]

Follow DDM on Twitter (@Wonksplainer) where he regularly thumbs his nose, and sometimes even bites his thumb, at Steve King.


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