Once again, Republicans have found another cruel way to punish poor people who need government assistance to prevent themselves and their children from starving to death.
Alabama Republicans passed a bill in committee last week that would significantly hammer families who rely on food stamps to get by. Yet Republicans still expect those people to have jobs, which is kinda hard if they have no mode of transportation to get to work every day.
According to the Montgomery Advertiser,
The legislation would cut eligibility for Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF) from five years to three. It would also require TANF recipients to sign a paper acknowledging they would stick to the requirements of the program, including those related to work. The bill would also prevent the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) from seeking work waivers for those receiving SNAP, and would also require EBT cards for recipients of public benefits to have photos on them…The bill would also change asset calculations, which currently allow those receiving benefits to own items like cars. The legislation would end that.
In short, if you’re poor and you own a car, you have to choose between feeding your family or having transportation. And if you’re forced to choose, more than likely you would choose feeding your family and ditch the car. However, Republicans also want food stamp recipients to sign a promise that they’ll get a job, and that’s the catch. If the only job a poor person can find is miles away, how the hell are they supposed to get to work on time every day to fulfill the requirements Alabama Republicans are forcing upon them, especially if they live in a rural area where there is no public transportation? And what if you’re family is so poor that your car IS your home? Then Republicans would be forcing families to choose between food and shelter.
That’s the precise reason why Democratic state Senator Rodger Smitherman blasted the bill and sponsor GOP state Senator Arthur Orr during the committee vote last Wednesday.
“I’m going to do whatever I can to stop this,” Smitherman angrily declared. “I am not going to let you do this to these people. I am not going to let people starve. There’s no provisions in there that guarantee employment if you go through those steps.”
The committee passed the bill by a 10-3 vote and it will now go to a full vote in the Senate where it is likely to pass the GOP-dominated body and could very well become law if the Republican-controlled House passes it as well and the Republican governor signs it.
And once it becomes law, children are going to be the ones who feel the hunger pangs the most since 77 percent of TANF recipients in the state are kids, giving further credence to the charge that Republicans only care about children until after they are born.
The Republican war against the poor continues on.
Featured image: Children’s Defense Fund