July 7, 2011
House Republicans have rejected a proposal to cut $120 million from the military band budget in order to feed low income American women, children, and senior citizens.
House Republicans have stripped an appropriation from the Defense Authorization bill proposed by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) that would have taken $120 million away from the military band budget and used the money to feed low income Americans.
One of the programs that Republicans plan to cut is the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) which provides food assistance to 500,000-600,000 Americans. Almost all of the participants (96%) are senior citizens. The WIC program is also on the chopping block. Republicans are trying to slash $833 million from a program that feeds low income pregnant women, new moms, babies, and children under 5. If House Republicans get their way, 325,000-475,000 mothers, infants, and children will be denied food in 2012.
Republicans have defended the military bands’ budget as necessary for patriotism, but only the most warped of ideologues could possibly justify waving the flag when hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable Americans will be denied food assistance. I am sure that if were left up to the military band members in our military they would want to see these Americans not starve. Unfortunately, the decision is not theirs to make.
This is another example of House Republicans being so thoroughly married to their ideology that they are completely out of step with the constituents that they were elected to serve. Do you think that the seniors who participate in the CSFP expected the Republicans to take power in the House and cut off food aid to those who are most in need?
As the Center For American Progress pointed out, the real tragedy here is that all of these programs could be funded by one week’s worth of revenue lost by the tax cuts for millionaires. Even worse, one day’s worth of the revenue from the tax cuts for millionaires could fund the CSFP for a whole year.
House Republicans have made a lot of mistakes which may cost them their majority in 2012. No mistake has been bigger than their support for the Ryan budget and the privatization of Medicare, but denying food to low income seniors and babies, so that the military band can keep their budget intact comes in a close second.
The Democratic television ads against Republican Reps. who support this almost write themselves. Shots of a peppy military band juxtaposed with images of hungry babies and grandmas with narration about how the incumbent Republican voted to both kill Medicare and deny food to seniors and children.
Republicans are about to learn that patriotism is poor substitute for food.
These hungry Americans can’t eat patriotism, but they can vote Democrat in November 2012.