Texas Republicans Voted to Slash Food Stamps while Receiving Millions in Farm Subsidies

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Last week, Congress allowed  a temporary expansion to the budget for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to expire, letting $5 billion dollars of cuts to the food stamp program go into effect. This came just weeks after House Republicans passed a farm bill that slashed the SNAP budget by $40 billion, letting 3.8 million Americans go hungry in 2014.  

The entire Texas Republican delegation voted in favor of the House farm bill in September. They've been vocal supporters of the of the drastic cuts–Rep. Louie Gohmert even tried to eliminate SNAP entirely earlier this year. But what some of these Republican representatives have conveniently chosen to leave out is that while they voted to deny food aid to millions of Americans, their districts were receiving millions of dollars in farm subsidies.

See which hypocritical Congressmen voted to slash food stamps while receiving lots of farm subsidies after the jump.Eight Texas Republican Congressmen who received more than $10 million in farm subsidies in 2012 also voted to slash food stamps. They are listed in the table below.

Congressman District Farm Subsidies Received in 2012
Ralph Hall 4th $16,427,340
Michael McCaul 10th $15,731,975
Michael Conaway 11th $69,445,342
Mac Thornberry 13th $139,385,962
Randy Weber 14th $11,172,555
Bill Flores 17th $16,652,563
Randy Neugebauer 19th $198,608,330
Blake Farenthold 27th $55,625,6520

These Congressmen all voted to cut food stamps by $40 billion dollars, while they took in over $1 billion combined in farm subsidies last year. This is hypocrisy at its peak–these Republican representatives are willing to take money to subsidize food production, but not willing to give money to constituents so they can actually feed themselves.

Many Republicans have argued that increases to SNAP were always intended to be temporary, and that cutting the growing program will help people pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and such. But the fact is that we need SNAP now more than ever. One in seven Americans currently receive food stamp benefits, because one in seven Aericans still live below the poverty line. With the economic downturn, the number of people on SNAP has grown. Even as the economy has begun to recover, high levels of poverty and joblessness have persisted, keeping food stamps necessary.

Texas is one of the states hit the hardest by hunger. The USDA has reported that Texas has the third-highest rate of food insecurity in the nation–one in five Texans are either hungry or at risk of hunger. Nearly 4 million Texans are currently enrolled in SNAP, a number that has been steadily rising since 2005. Most of the recipients of food stamps are children.

In the face of the reality of hunger in Texas, the Republican congressional hypocrisy is even more glaring. By voting to cut food stamps, these Congressmen have done their constituents and their state a huge disservice.


About Author

Katie Singh

Katie grew up in Austin and has been involved in Texas politics since 2004. She has been a part of several campaigns, from state house races to working at President Obama's campaign headquarters in 2012. She loves public policy, public health, and tacos. Katie tweets from @kasingh19.

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