Last month, when Bush first released his 2006 budget and made a big show of saying he would cut farm subsidies (so brave! so fiscally conservative!), I called bullshit on it. One theory going around was that in cutting the USDA’s budget, Bush knew that powerful backers would preserve farm subsidies, and what would end up getting the ax? Food stamps.
Senior Republicans in both the House and Senate are open to small reductions in farm subsidies, but they adamantly oppose the deep cuts sought by Bush to hold down future federal deficits.
Instead, Republican committee chairmen are looking to carve savings from nutrition and land conservation programs that are also run by the Agriculture Department. The government is projected to spend $52 billion this year on nutrition programs like food stamps, school lunches and special aid to low-income pregnant women and children. Farm subsidies will total less than half that, $24 billion.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said the $36 billion food stamp program is a good place to look for savings.
“There’s not the waste, fraud and abuse in food stamps that we used to see. … That number is down to a little over 6 percent now,” he said. “But there is a way, just by utilizing the president’s numbers, that we can come up with a significant number there.”
Taking food out of the mouths of low-income pregnant women and children to preserve corporate welfare for millionaires. It warms the heart.