Congressional Candidate LaFerla Responds To Rep. Harris’ Slashing of SNAP Program and Defunding of Obamacare

From LaFerla for Congress:

John LaFerla, Candidate for Congress in MD-01, issued the following statement on Andy Harris’ recent vote, which cut millions of dollars from the critical food stamp program Last week, in two stunning votes, Andy Harris clearly showed his disdain for the needs of the people he supposedly represents in Congress.

He voted to cut 4 million people from the food stamp program, despite the fact that over 10% of his constituents in Maryland’s 1st Congressional district rely on this vital assistance. In an interview on CNN he justifies this cut by citing waste and abuse in the system.

However, he fails to mention that the actual estimate of inappropriate use of food stamps is less than 2%. And, of course he doesn’t mention the thousands of people in District 1 who would be cut off from food assistance by his action. The reason for the increased use of the food stamp program in recent years is our poor economy, with many people out of work for long periods. The need for supplemental food assistance will go down once the economy has further recovered.

In a separate vote, he went along with his Tea Party colleagues voting to bring the country to the brink of a government shutdown. To continue paying the country’s bills, Harris insists on only funding the government under the condition that the Affordable Care Act be defunded. His vote is purely political, has no chance of becoming law, and is totally irresponsible. The people of the 1st congressional district need their Congressman to represent their interests in Washington, not to waste time making meaningless political points.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 American Community Survey


  1. get real we are broke says

    Perhaps if this progressive clown would stop advocating wasteful spending on programs such as shrimp on tred mills, robot squirrels, menus for mars missions, talking urinal cakes, and world of warcraft we would not need to cut snap. I say this as the lady in front of me buys 6 steaks, 4 cases of perier and 20 bars of chocolate on her wonderful “SNAP” card.

    • TinfoilTommy says

      You really need to return to reality my friend. Over 70% of SNAP households include either children, the elderly, or the disabled (many of which are veterans), and these households account for over 80% of all SNAP benefits. Furthermore, the average monthly income for a snap family of 3 is roughly $700. This average drops to a little over $300 after costs such as childcare, medical bills, and rent, leaving SNAP beneficiaries less than $1.75 per person per meal. As for the actual cost to the taxpayer, SNAP accounts for roughly 2% of the Federal budget. How brave of Mr. Harris to cut a program that helps to ensure that children, the elderly, and the disabled do not go hungry. And how fiscally responsible of Mr. Harris to lower of federal spending by less than 1% while costing taxpayers $1.5 million EACH time he and his “conservative” cohorts vote (and fail) to defund Obamacare. Let’s see, $1.5 million multiplied by 40 (the number of failed repeal votes) equals $60 million. What a patriot!

      Look, I get it. You despise the poor. Mr. Harris despises the poor. That’s fine. But don’t pretend that this is somehow saving our economy or try and pass off the myth of the welfare queen using her monthly SNAP allowance to buy some absurd grocery list that more closely resembles what is in Mr. Harris’ pantry than it does someone who actually receives SNAP benefits. No one is buying it, and if Mr. Harris keeps pushing his own personal agenda over the needs of his constituents he won’t be around for much longer.

      • Kharn says

        How many people receive only SNAP? I bet most participants are also receiving additional federal, state and/or local assistance as well.

        The problem is that SNAP is very open to abuse, since the only restriction is that you cannot buy hot foods (such as steamed shrimp from the grocery store, but buy the shrimp cold and they’ll steam it for you for free…). Every assistance program should be run in the same manner as WIC, with approved food lists that are limited to only healthy choices, no chips, no soda, no junk food like can be purchased on SNAP. If you’re staying at home because you can’t find a job, you have a lot of time to cook rice, beans, potatos, stew meats, etc without needing the (more expensive) canned or (extremely expensive) boil-in-bag versions. They should also limit the allowable price per pound for butcher and seafood sections to prevent abuses like filet mignon and lobster.

        • Duh says

          Go to baltimore and try to use a snap card. The grocer simply has the Mad Dog 20/20 ring up as peanut butter. Its a simply alteration to your POS system that is NEVER audited. Mega bars in baltimore used to have Miller lite ring up as chicken tenders so they could continue to operate with out the required 50/50 split of food//booze. Its all a fu#king Joke

      • Charitable Conservative says

        Mr. Tinfoil, Congratulations. You have earned your liberal credentials by spouting off a few tired statistics, quickly followed by a personal attack. How dare you!!! I strongly support reform of these programs and I do not despise the poor. In fact my monthly budget includes a substantial portion that is intended only for a variety of charities. This does not include donations of food items and time spent at homeless shelters and food kitchens. My concern for the poor is part of my faith in action. I give of my own and not because some government thief is extorting my hard earned wealth through force of law. I have spent the better part of my healthcare career providing service to the poor and never did I consider them less deserving than my more affluent patients.

        But not so your liberal icons. For them charity (here I use the term loosely as being generous with other people’s money is not true charity) is all about political power. Let us recall the words of Lyndon Johnson as he discussed the rationale for his Great Society reforms: “I’ll have those——–(you can google the actual fill in the blank) voting Democrat for the next 200 years” So much for liberal compassion.

        This administration has entrenched us further into socialism than any other. Socialism is merely a step toward communism and tyranny. Cloward and Pliven, two radical social scientists, suggested just the tactics that we are seeing. Overwhelm the system to the breaking point then take advantage of the crisis by completely nationalizing the system. Somewhat of an oversimplification but I think you and Dr. LaFerla will get it. Interesting that C&P were spreading the word at Columbia while our current White House occupant was there. Once again, the concern is not for the benefit of all but for power being concentrated within the political class. Now I understand that you and Dr. LaFerla probably have humanitarian intentions but you are merely what those that pull the strings call useful idiots. Early on in Obama’s first administration there was a series of TV and radio ads about very comfortable appearing elderly in middle class settings and college students applying for and getting SNAP benefits. The whole point was to normalize government assistance. Now it’s for everyone, not just the needy. Swelling the ranks of those dependent on government is the name of the game. And given that mind set, one must speculate that there is no better way to swell those ranks than to crash the economy. Not making any outright claims here but inquiring minds will consider it.

        You state that 76% of all recipients have a child, elderly person or disabled person in the household. I was not aware that merely occupying those groups made you eligible. You play on our sympathy to extort funds when in fact your argument is all about emotion and devoid of reason. If those households are truly deserving then fine. If not, it makes no difference how old or disabled they are. Furthermore, those applying for disability have increased exponentially. Is this because people are suddenly becoming disabled at a higher rate? If so I’m sure some government agency can jump in to save the day. Or is it because otherwise able adults are dealing with Obamanomics by taking advantage of another form of government assistance intended for a more deserving population?

        You also mention some heartbreakingly low monthly income levels for those on SNAP. For those folks I have nothing but compassion and am willing to help them in any way. But this does not tell the whole story. At the suggestion of the Obama admin as demonstrated by memos to various departments, the eligibility requirements for SNAP are a little more complicated. Savings, assets, etc are often left uncounted or uninvestigated. That is how a $700,000 lottery winner or a retiree with a $300,000 home and a hefty savings account can dip in. Furthermore, often getting other kinds of assistance makes you eligible when if considered alone SNAP would have not been available. And what about the partnership (begun in 2004 under Bush) with Mexico that assisted illegal aliens in applying for benefits they rightfully should not have. Almost sounds like they were trying to encourage illegal immigration; hmmmmmm.

        And what about those unlikely beneficiaries of SNAP? What about J P Morgan, the company that holds the contract for the EBT cards? They make millions on these government transactions and lobby to keep these assistance programs going whole hog. It would be interesting to investigate their donor habits.

        I have so much more to add but I’ll let you chew on this for a while. I need to get going and earn some money. President Obama needs it for someone else.

      • John says

        I work in an establishment that takes SNAP Cards. I have to agree the system is highly abused. Most are purchasing luxury items and not staples.

  2. pissed with the government says

    Food stamps are an abused program, it should replaced by beans, rice, school food meat and cheese, peanut butter, milk and bread. Don’t like it get a job
    Go to Wegmans and see filet minion and lobster bought on there independence card. It’s an abuse that crosses all racial and ethnic lines….

  3. mom61 says

    I don’t despise the poor. As a matter of fact I contibute weekly to Our Daily Bread, and make monthly casseroles form them too, But changes do need to be made. Reduce funding? No, cut abuse? Yes. I do work in a grocery store. I see people using muliple cards under different names. And yes, $25.00 slices of salmon on a cedar plank, $60.00 worth of sushi. These are items that won’t go very far to feed a family. Want to stretch a dollar? $1.99 lb chicken breast or $2.19 lb ground beef. We need SNAP, but not in its present form.

  4. brian says

    Oh you are such a slick little one with your you despise the poor comment. Yeah you got us, we are exposed. Forget about all the work we do with the church to help the poor. Forget about all the money we donate to different charities. Forget about the time we spend volunteering in the community. None of that equates to the great kindness that you have when spending other people’s tax money. If only we were not hung up on reducing the debt so our kids can have a brighter future. If only we could get past our desire to keep our money so we had least had a shot at affording college for our kids. Sadly we are also obsessed with the idea of financial stability so that maybe some day I can retire instead of working straight till I am dropped in the ground.
    You got us, the truth is dispite all evidence to the contrary you say we just hate the poor.
    You are a class act, I am sure you sleep soundly each night confident you have argued for the spending of others people’s money quite well.
    You moron.

    • 152 Guy says

      If you are so proud of the work that you do for the church, then why don’t you adhere to its teachings, like helping those in need such as the people who rely on the SNAP program. It helps because they work for jobs under corporations that don’t pay a living wage and they are represented by elected officials (both Democrat and Republican) who will not increase the minimum wage to reflect the inflation in the costs of goods and services. Why don’t you thump your chest about that issue instead of just saying, “Oh I do work for my church. That should be good enough.”

      • Common Sense says

        @152 Guy

        Your plan requires taking money through taxation and give it to other people.

        Your plan is to artificially raise the minimum wage to give more money to people who have few skills or who are just developing marketable skills.

        Your plan wants to punish the corporation owned by the guy living next door to you by forcing him to raise his prices to you so he can pay your phony living wage to entry level or low skill workers.

        You want to subsidize the bad behaviours of the people that are abusing SNAP.

        You want to keep it unattractive for people to work and have them instead stay on the government dole. Because when you combine SNAP with all the other federal, state & charity assistance programs in total that people receive is better than actually working your way up and shedding those poverty benefits along the way.

      • John says

        Well these things used to be taken care of by charities and social betterment clubs (rotary, lions club, knights of columbus ect) Then uncle sam decided they could do it better and started to compete with them.

    • Mr. Moderate says

      One would have to be clueless not to realize there are abuses in any major government program, including those involving the medical community and the defense industry .

      But when are we, especially members of the conservative community, ever going to focus our energies on reasonable reforms, instead of wailing about the small percentage of recipients (including members of the middle class store owners, etc.) who take advantage of the system. Reforms that would aid especially those with legitimate needs and would ensure taxpayers that government revenues are being used effectively.

      Are there no critics of SNAP, etc. who have concern for the truly poor. Do they really believe all poverty results from personal shortcomings and “bad behavior.” Are they so lacking in social responsibility as to deny the legitimate needs of the poor, including the sadly invisible “working poor.”

      Have they never spoken to social workers whose insights come from personal contact and study (as opposed to barroom conversations, Fox News, WBAL Radio, or poring over typical comments in the Dagger). These professionals are in no way “socialists, ” “ivy tower idealists,” or “bleeding heart liberals” removed from the real world. They know first hand the good and the bad of SNAP etc., and have much to teach those of us who “get our knowledge” from the electronic media.

  5. Vietnam vet says

    I noticed no one mentioned a snap card can be bought on any given day $50.00 Cash buy’s $100.00 not a bad return. have to keep those drugs flowing.

  6. noble says

    I worked with and around people using the food stamps program for several years, as well as those administering the program in various jurisdictions. There are two major problems with the program and cutting funding for it doesn’t help either.

    1. Fraud. yes, there is massive fraud in the program. There are simple selling schemes and more complicated schemes with stores like the one in Baltimore recently discovered. But there is also the matter of people “trading” children around on paper so that they can qualify for higher amounts. This is how you see misuse of the funds at the cash register, mostly. And even just people using the card inappropriately to buy more expensive items than someone of their means should, yes, that’s fraud as well in a limited sense. If you are taking from others because you are needy but not living as a needy person would have to do, that’s fraud on your fellow man.

    But, cutting the funding doesn’t solve any of those issues. It doesn’t change the systemic problems administering the program and it doesn’t change people’s behavior. As a matter of fact, cutting the funding actually probably makes these problems worse, as there are more people who go without.

    It’s brain surgery with an axe. It’s simplistic, idiotic, and nothing but simple politics to cut funding in this way, without addressing the real problems– and it hurts people for political gain, which is unforgivable.

    2. The other major problem is that the workers who administer these programs are HEAVILY overburdened and modestly underpaid. The caseload numbers are insanely high and totally unmanageable. The workload per case is too high as well, as they seek to implement all the policy requirements that have been put in place over the years– many of the designed to reduce fraud in fact. Many might mock the ‘woe is me’ government worker attitude and deride them as less than capable– and I’m going to tell you, some of that is true to an extent, and it’s because they cannot attract or retain highly qualified staff. By cutting funding for these programs, again, it only exacerbates this problem, and is more likely to increase fraud than reduce it.

    What the House Republicans propose is simple-minded, short-sighted, and nothing more than political pandering to a thematic scheme that is sold to willing ears.

    If you think cutting this funding is going to accomplish anything but check off some tick boxes for the next election, you’ve lost the plot.

  7. K says

    Once again, no solution only bantering and bickering between two political parties. I’ve always wondered if (D) and (R) were removed from candidates and elected employees names how would our elections turn out? Oh yeah that’s right, this was attempted in a town in North Carolina. The outcome? Attorney General Holder interceded and blocked yet another attempt by a locale within a state to better its position.

  8. Otto Schmidlap says

    The Coasters had the solution years ago:
    Well lip, lip, lip, lip, lip, lip, lip, lip bumm, bumm, bumm, bumm, bumm, bumm get a job.

  9. Karl Marx says

    We should make those on benifits work for the people. How about making them do the jobs “Americans dont want to do” to earn their glorious slice of the peoples pie. Put them all to work, and we shall have no need for those counter revolutionaries who sneak into the country without papers.

    • noble says

      “This past week, I was proud to be the only member of the Maryland delegation in the House of Representatives to vote in favor of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642 (aka the farm bill), which eventually passed. This bill maintains the protections farm families in Maryland deserve while reforming America’s outdated farm program in a fiscally responsible way.”

      From Delmarva Now