It begins again - Opinion - Explorer

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It begins again


Congress has returned from break, and it didn’t take long for partisan politics to begin again. I’ve said it before, and will likely say it again and again – Congress’ approval rating is a dismal number because they do not ever change.

The House, which is Republican led, didn’t take long to go after Obamacare, again. They also didn’t take long to take aim at social programs such as social security, medicare and food stamps. The bill the House has already passed really has no chance of being signed into law. The Democrat-led Senate likely won’t pass it, and if they do, the president isn’t going to sign any of it.

So, here we are again at a stalemate. What’s at stake? We are facing another threat of a government shutdown, which is the major concern.

Let’s start with Obamacare – It’s here, repeal efforts have failed. It’s time to move forward. Does it look like Obama’s healthcare overhaul is going to be good for our country? Some of that remains to be seen, but early indications show it’s going to be costly to businesses, which will likely reflect badly on the workforce, especially the middle class. But, like I said, there’s a lot of fear out there of the unknown. We’ll have to see how it goes. However, the Republican-led House voting not to fund Obamacare at all is a waste of time.

A CNN report said it best, “Adding a mix of controversial items to the bill (on the debt ceiling limits) only increases the threat of a default, and ensures Capitol Hill will be tied up for the next several weeks, if not months, with partisan fighting that could ripple through the financial markets.”

While I don’t agree with Republican games in using Obamacare as a political pawn in discussions over our debt ceiling limits, I do agree with some of their positions on wanting to overhaul how food stamps are distributed in this country.

On Sept. 19, House Republicans passed a controversial bill that would drop 3.8 million people from food stamp rolls next year by making it tougher for some families to qualify.

The bill would cut $40 billion from food stamps over the next decade, which would force about 14 million people from the program by 2023, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. 

The bill would also require adults between 18 and 50 without minor children to find a job or to enroll in a work-training program in order to receive benefits. It would also limit the time those recipients could get benefits to three months. Currently, states can extend food stamp benefits past three months for able-bodied people who are working or preparing for work as part of a job-training program. 

While I agree that getting those who just take advantage of the system working is good, the three-month straight cut off is not a good idea. People who are truly down on their luck don’t necessarily pull things back together in three months.

The bill would also restrict people enrolled in other social welfare programs from automatically becoming eligible for food stamps and would allow states to require food stamp recipients to be tested for drugs and to stop lottery winners from getting benefits. The Senate farm bill also contains a restriction on lottery winners. 

I completely agreed with this portion of the bill for many reasons. If a person wants to get assistance from programs paid for by taxpayers, then what is wrong with them being tested for drugs? If you want free money, then follow rules.

I think the lottery aspect is a given.

The bill should also go a step further – more restrictions on what recipients are allowed to buy should be instated. Buying junk food and soda with assistance tax dollars for unacceptable in my opinion.