Federal Cuts to Food Stamp Program Hurt Children, Seniors and Disabled Most
Interview with Michael J. Wilson, director, Maryland Hunger Solutions, an initiative of the Food Research and Action Center, conducted by Scott Harris
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the federal food stamp program suffered $5 billion in cuts on Nov. 1 when a post economic meltdown stimulus boost in funding expired. Nationally, about 47 million people who receive food stamps will see reductions in their monthly food subsidy. For an average family of three, the impact of the food stamp program’s first across-the-board cut in its history will result in $29 less each month, allotting $1.81 per meal – adding up to a loss of funds to buy 16 meals. Forty nine percent of food stamp recipients are children. And 87 percent of households that receive SNAP benefits are homes with children, seniors or the disabled.
Beyond the immediate impact on the nation’s poor, the ripple effect of the funding cut back will be felt by local retailers like grocery stores. It’s estimated that every $1.00 spent in food stamps generates $1.70 in economic activity in the communities where the funds are spent.
What worries many anti-poverty activists more than the recent loss of $5 billion is the specter of new, deeper cuts to SNAP. The Republican-controlled House has voted to slash the SNAP program by $39 billion over the next 10 years. The Democratically-controlled Senate has proposed $4.5 billion in funding reductions in the next decade. House and Senate conferees must now negotiate a compromise position on the SNAP budget, one that is likely to leave more Americans hungry. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Michael J. Wilson, of the group Maryland Hunger Solutions, who explains why federal budget cuts to the food stamp program, will hurt children, seniors and the disabled most.
Maryland Hunger Solutions is an initiative of the Food Research and Action Center. For more analysis on Maryland Hunger Solutions, visit mdhungersolutions.org.
Despite Setbacks, Pro-Choice Groups Continue to Challenge Texas Anti-Abortion Law
Interview with Gretchen Borchelt, director of state reproductive health policy at the National Women’s Law Center, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
During the most recent legislative session in Texas, a serious fight erupted over an omnibus anti-abortion bill that included many restrictions that would make it almost impossible for many women in the state to get an abortion. Despite protests by thousands of Texans, supporting pro-choice legislators like state Sen. Wendy Davis, the bill passed in a special session and was signed by GOP Gov. Rick Perry. Two of the provisions were challenged in court by Planned Parenthood and other groups. One measure in the law requires that doctors performing abortions get admitting privileges at a local hospital. Another measure mandates doctors use an outdated protocol when performing drug-induced abortions with RU-486, the so-called abortion pill. Initially, federal district court Judge Lee Yeakel struck down the admitting privileges requirement as unconstitutional, and partially struck down the medication protocol. But last week, a three-judge panel at the Appeals Court level – all women judges appointed by President George W. Bush – overturned the lower court ruling and permitted the controversial Texas law to go into effect. Now Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice groups have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the earlier injunction blocking portions of the law concerning doctor’s admitting privileges.
Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus spoke with Gretchen Borchelt, director of state reproductive health policy at the National Women’s Law Center, about what happens next in Texas. She also provides an overview of the many anti-abortion laws across the country and her group’s efforts to challenge them.
Campaign Launched to Restore NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden’s U.S. Passport
Interview with Norman Solomon, author and activist, conducted by Scott Harris
The latest revelations from documents collected by former NSA contractor turned whistleblower, Edward Snowden, include allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency had conducted surveillance on millions of Europeans in France, Germany and Spain, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.
While not denying the monitoring of Chancellor Merkel’s mobile phone, the director of the NSA, General Keith Alexander, denied that the U.S. had conducted surveillance in Europe. He instead maintained at a recent congressional hearing that records of European phone and Internet communication had been provided to the U.S. by allied intelligence agencies. That claim was supported by documents leaked by Edward Snowden that spy agencies in Germany, France, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands had been developing surveillance capabilities in cooperation with Great Britain.
As the public in many European nations are demanding answers, Hans-Christian Ströbele, a member of the German Parliament traveled to Moscow on Oct. 31 to meet with Edward Snowden, who has resided there since Russia granted him temporary asylum in August. Ströbele and Georg Mascolo, a former editor-in-chief with Der Spiegel magazine, discussed the possibility of arranging for Snowden to testify before a German parliamentary committee hearing on the details of NSA surveillance in Europe. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Norman Solomon, author, activist and co-founder of the group RootsAction.org. Here, Solomon discusses the significance of the latest NSA surveillance revelations and the campaign his group is organizing to restore Edward Snowden’s U.S. passport.
Norman Solomon, is a former California congressional candidate, co-founder of RootsAction.org and author of “War Made Easy, How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning us to Death.” Find links to Solomon’s recent articles at normonsolomon.com.