Political Correction

GOP Bill Could Cut Families Off From Food Stamps If A Parent Goes On Strike

March 24, 2011 1:34 pm ET - by Kate Conway

Rep. Jim Jordan

Amid the lingering effects of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, simply making enough money to feed your family can be tough. Millions of Americans are still struggling to find jobs and make ends meet; one in four is "worried about having enough money to put food on the table in the next year," according to a survey commissioned by the Food Research and Action Center. Per a 2010 report, nearly 15 percent of American households are "food insecure" during the year.

Yet Republican hostility to social welfare programs hasn't softened in light of the economic difficulties facing the nation. Convinced that people on welfare are lazy — despite the fact that most parents of hungry children have full-time jobs — the GOP continues to pursue harsh policies that only make it more difficult for families to get their lives on track. A recent welfare bill, introduced by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and co-sponsored by Reps. Dan Burton (R-IN), Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Tim Scott (R-SC), would "provide additional work requirements" for beneficiaries of the food stamp program and introduce "an overall spending limit on means-tested welfare programs."

This is a pretty typical Republican approach to welfare reform, but ThinkProgress digs up one startlingly harsh provision buried in the bill.

Much of the bill is based upon verifying that those who receive food stamps benefits are meeting the federal requirements for doing so. However, one section buried deep within the bill adds a startling new requirement. The bill, if passed, would actually cut off all food stamp benefits to any family where one adult member is engaging in a strike against an employer.

Ninety-one percent of Americans believe that no one in the U.S. should have to go hungry. And despite a wave of state-level hostility to labor, 81 percent of Americans think that workers should have the right to unionize in order to negotiate for better compensation and working conditions. The GOP bill would put those two rights at odds with one another, forcing some workers to choose between feeding their children and fighting for the fair pay and better benefits that could help lift their families out of poverty.

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