People seeking federal assistance in North Carolina are one step closer to being forced to undergo background checks in order to get the help they need. The North Carolina House passed HB 392 by a final vote of 106-6 on Thursday. The bill now goes to the Senate.
Introduced last week by Republicans, HB 392 mandates that all people applying for federal aid such as food assistance must undergo a background check, which the North Carolina Association of County Boards of Social Services says would likely dissuade individuals and families from seeking help because “if people think they are going to be prosecuted or arrested for even seeking our services, that’s a big concern for us.”
In other words, poor people with children who desperately need food may be too frightened to seek help. This bill targets the poor unfairly, and forcing them to have a background check is humiliating, especially when most people on welfare feel bad about needing assistance in the first place. The bill is especially outrageous when you consider that Republicans oppose strengthening background checks to buy guns, or the fact that corporations aren’t required to undergo background checks to get federal subsidies. Wall Street banks nearly crippled the economy in 2008, wiping out the finances of thousands of innocent people, yet they still receive billions in federal dollars. Big oil corporations also receive federal subsidies while at the same time poisoning our environment with toxic chemicals. Despite a devastating oil spill in the Gulf and a recent major spill in Arkansas, oil companies have no problem getting cash from the government.
If anything, it’s corporations that should be forced to undergo background checks before receiving federal subsidies. Companies that clearly do not need federal money should not get it. And companies that have been notoriously irresponsible should also be barred from getting federal money. But rather than target corporations, Republicans would rather target single mothers who are struggling to get by. They would rather target hungry children. They would rather target the homeless and the unemployed. They would rather target the sick.
I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t require a background check before helping those in need.