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April 17, 2023 11:18 AM UTC

Caraveo Fights For SNAP Benefits McCarthy Wants To Cut More

  • 4 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) hits back at House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s debt ceiling “plan”:

—–

Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D).

Danielle Kreutter at Denver7 reports on new legislation being introduced by freshman Democratic Rep. Yadira Caraveo to extend by another year the expanded SNAP food benefits, more commonly known as food stamps, that millions of Americans have relied on to stay fed during the COVID-19 pandemic:

“I knew that these emergency allotments were going to end at some point. I think, like so many people, it took me by surprise that they were ending before the Emergency Declaration for COVID,” said Democratic Congresswoman Yarida Caraveo of Colorado.

She will be introducing the “Keep Families Fed Act” on Monday.

“It says that the emergency allotment will continue one year past the bill’s passage. And importantly, it requires the USDA to submit a strategy to every state SNAP agency to say, ‘Here are resources and guidance so that you can make the public aware and have them prepare for the end of the extension,'” Caraveo said.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R).

The reduction in SNAP benefits that took effect in March has reportedly resulted in a spike in demand at food banks and other charitable relief services. The demand for food relief remains as strong as ever, but unfortunately the narrow Republican House majority is headed in the exact opposite direction from Rep. Caraveo: even more cuts to food benefits. In fact, Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s proposal to allow the nation’s debt limit to be increased in transactional exchange for further SNAP cuts is so politically toxic that as Politico reports, Senate Republicans want nothing to do with it:

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s new debt limit negotiating proposal set to be unveiled Monday morning will include broad moves to restrict food assistance for millions of low-income Americans. His GOP colleagues in the Senate aren’t optimistic any of those measures will survive…

Cutting spending on federal food assistance programs is a perennial Republican target, and House conservatives are eager to make it part of any agreement to raise the debt ceiling, which the country must do later this year to avoid a default crisis. But Senate Democrats have said such measures are dead on arrival in the upper chamber, and with the help of key Senate Republicans, they have killed off a series of similar House GOP efforts over the years — including a 2018 push involving McCarthy and his current top debt limit lieutenant Rep. Garret Graves (La.). The early response from Senate Republicans this time around does not bode well for a different outcome in 2023…

Asked about the prospects for such measures in the next Congress, Sen. John Boozman (Ark.) the top Republican on the Agriculture Committee, which oversees SNAP, said in an interview a week after the 2022 midterms that the effort “would be difficult to pass in the Senate with 60 votes,” a nod to the threshold needed to overcome a Senate filibuster.

With McCarthy set to meet a brick wall with his demand for further SNAP benefits cuts, the path forward for Caraveo’s bill to extend the pandemic-era expanded benefits for another year is unclear–but if Republicans were to decide in response to the horrible press McCarthy is earning to defer the issue for another year, Caraveo’s proposal would be a great way to do so without necessarily caving on principle. After all, it’s a temporary extension with provisions for a better-planned eventual end of the extended benefits.

In Colorado, Rep. Lauren Boebert’s CD-3 saw the highest rate of food stamp reliance even before the COVID-19 pandemic–and the only district in Colorado in 2019 above the national average of 10.7% of households. Boebert’s stump speech during her rise to fame regularly included disparaging the “government cheese” she claims to have received as a child. In reality, it’s Boebert’s own constituents who will disproportionately go hungry if McCarthy gets his way and Caraveo does not.

The one thing we can say for sure is these cuts hurt real people in ways that voters can see in their families and communities. Proposing to cut food benefits is politically treacherous for Republicans–especially after the party voted for massive tax breaks for wealthy Americans during the Trump administration. Conversely, Rep. Caraveo is on very solid ground politically to fight for expanded food stamp benefits for as long as possible.

It’s a fight that McCarthy has already lost, morally if not yet officially.

Comments

4 thoughts on “Caraveo Fights For SNAP Benefits McCarthy Wants To Cut More

  1. Listen up Lauren,….sadly she doesn't care. 

     "In reality, it’s Boebert’s own constituents who will disproportionately go hungry if McCarthy gets his way and Caraveo does not."

  2. In reality, it’s Boebert’s own constituents who will disproportionately go hungry if McCarthy gets his way and Caraveo does not.

    That's a small price to pay for "owning the libs," which is what an ever-so-small majority of CO-3 voters most care about.

  3. Raising the debt ceiling simply pays for money already appropriated.

    For a discussion on budget issues, I'd suggest bringing back the Simpson-Bowles study as a starting point.

  4. Heard Marketplace as I was driving today.  Their take:

    House Speaker Kevin McCarthy took to Wall Street on Monday for a speech on the debt ceiling. That’s the maximum amount the Treasury Department can borrow to pay its bills.

    Speaking at the New York Stock Exchange, McCarthy said that “defaulting on our debt is not an option.” But neither McCarthy nor the White House are showing any signs of compromising. This year’s gridlock is reminiscent of 2011, when we also went down to the wire.

    I hope Main Street and Wall Street are talking to a vareity of Republicans, developing a plan.  Because I don't think McCarthy (and his leadership colleagues, and their advisers) have skills to find a way to make a deal.  And I don't think Biden and a vast number of Democratic legislators fear the political consequences of sticking to the "clean bill" strategy already in place. 

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