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NEWS
June 26, 2013 | By Cynthia Tucker
A recent road trip took me into rural Georgia and Florida, far from the traffic jams, boutique coffeehouses, and National Public Radio signals that frame my familiar landscape. Along the way, billboards reminded me that I was outside my natural habitat: antiabortion declarations appeared every 40 or 50 miles. "Pregnant? Your baby's heart is already beating!" "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. - God. " And, with a photo of an adorable smiling baby, "My heart beat 18 days from conception.
NEWS
June 25, 2013 | By E. J. Dionne, For The Inquirer
The roof fell in on John Boehner's House of Representatives last week. The Republican leadership's humiliating defeat on a deeply flawed and inhumane farm bill was as clear a lesson as we'll get about the real causes of dysfunction in the nation's capital. Our ability to govern ourselves is being brought low by a witches' brew of right-wing ideology, a shockingly cruel attitude toward the poor on the part of the Republican majority, and the speaker's incoherence when it comes to his need for Democratic votes to pass bills.
NEWS
June 22, 2013 | By Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - The House rejected a five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill Thursday that would have cut $2 billion annually from food stamps and let states impose broad new work requirements on those who receive them. Those cuts weren't deep enough for many Republicans who objected to the cost of the nearly $80 billion-a-year food stamp program, which has doubled in the last five years. The vote was 234-195 against the bill, with 62 Republicans voting against it. The bill also lacked the Democratic support necessary for the traditionally bipartisan farm bill to pass.
NEWS
June 21, 2013
THURSDAY, the Farm Bill flamed out in Congress, when House Democrats led the fight against a $900 billion bill that would, among other things, call for significant cuts to the food-stamp program. The Farm Bill, set to be renewed every five years, governs food and agricultural policy in the United States, and its failure yesterday is somewhat stunning, given the magnitude of the bill. We've been keeping a close eye on this bill, not only because it impacts every American, but because it had the potential to be disastrous for the hungry.
NEWS
June 20, 2013
Whom does Congress listen to? The farm bill is a clue. It is chock full of subsidies benefiting special interests, but cuts funding to provide food stamps for poor people. The House this week began debating the bill, which over the next decade would cut $20 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Nearly two million people who rely on SNAP assistance to put food on the table would lose their benefits. The White House has threatened to veto the bill, saying it would make "unacceptable deep cuts" in the $80 billion-a-year program.
NEWS
June 20, 2013 | By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer
On Tuesday, a new kind of food pantry for the poor - featuring exclusively healthful foods - opened in Kensington. The Green Light Pantry, the first of its kind in the city, promotes healthy eating while batting back hunger. "I don't eat healthy much," said pantry client Ebony Culbreath, 20, a formerly homeless woman who filled a shopping basket with her daughter, Kaliyah, 2, on Tuesday. "This stuff is outside my comfort zone. But my daughter eats all of it. " In the fight against hunger, it's not always the most nutritious foods that are used.
NEWS
May 23, 2013 | By Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Despite the efforts of senators from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, a bid to phase out a Depression-era federal price-support program for sugar failed in the Senate on Wednesday. The 54-45 vote came on an amendment to the farm bill. Sens. Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) had argued, among other concerns, that the supports raise costs for candymakers such as Hershey and Mars, strong presences in their states. "For every job that we save among sugar producers, we lose three jobs among companies that manufacture with sugar," Toomey said on the Senate floor.
NEWS
May 22, 2013
CAMDEN A Camden grocery store manager arrested last week on allegations he stole more than $1 million from taxpayers in a food-stamp scheme appeared in U.S. District Court in Camden Tuesday and was ordered held without bail. Alexander D. Vargas, 34, allegedly bought food stamps for 50 cents on the dollar and kept the other 50 cents by redeeming food stamps without selling any food. He managed the former Eddie's Grocery on the 1500 block of Mount Ephraim Avenue in the city's Whitman Park section, and allegedly carried out the scheme last year, officials said.
NEWS
May 22, 2013
By Gary D. Alexander Seventeen years ago this August, President Bill Clinton signed into law Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), an antipoverty initiative involving "block grants" to the states that replaced the nation's formerly open-ended cash-welfare program. Hailed as a breakthrough, the 1996 legislation contained a provision that disqualified noncitizens from program eligibility unless they had lived in the United States for at least five years. Why the bipartisan reform didn't permanently preclude noncitizens from the program is not clear, yet even this five-year rule is among several provisions that many states have resisted implementing.
NEWS
May 17, 2013 | By Joseph A. Gambardello, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Camden grocery store manager was arrested Thursday and charged with stealing more than $1 million from taxpayers in a food-stamp scheme. Alexander D. Vargas, 34, allegedly bought food stamps for 50 cents on the dollar and pocketed the other 50 cents after redeeming the food stamps without selling any food, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. It is unlawful to exchange food-stamp benefits for cash. Vargas managed the former Eddie's Grocery on the 1500 block of Mount Ephraim Avenue in the city's Whitman Park section, officials said.
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