WASHINGTON, Mich. (WOOD) — Progressive Democrats fear the president and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy’s debt ceiling deal will strip food stamps from the country’s most vulnerable Americans.
After some deliberation this afternoon, Rep. Cori Bush, D-MO, said she cannot, in good conscience, vote to take food out of people’s mouths. Her “no” vote adds to a growing list of Democrats and Republicans opposing the bill.
“This is not about people who are lazy,” said Bush.
She is refusing to support expanded work requirements for food stamps in the debt ceiling deal, saying the federal program was lifeline when she was pregnant.
“For me, that would have meant I would not have been able to receive any — not a dollar, of food stamps … because I could not work,” said Bush.
Wednesday, Bush tried to remove the new standards from the bill but Republicans blocked that effort.
“We’re talking about $6 per day,” Bush said.
If it passes, adults 54 and under without dependents must work at least 80 hours a month to receive food stamps. That’s up from the current age cap of 49.
But Democrats like congressional Black caucus chair Steven Harsford said there is a silver lining.
“It increases SNAP benefits for about 78,000 people a month,” said Rep. Steven Horsford, D-NV.
Horsford is among the Democrats reluctantly supporting the package because it expands benefits for groups like foster youth and veterans.
“Republicans started with wanting to kick a million people off and in fact we’re going to be able to add about 900,000 people on,” said Horsford.
But that’s exactly why Republicans like Byron Donalds, R-FL, aim to tank the deal.
“Basically, it’s a wash fiscally. Work requirements, the purpose of that is twofold. One, it’s yeah, it’s to help federal spending but also it’s to help get people back into the workforce,” said Donalds.
Bush says she is grateful the White House protected other programs, but wants to put the focus on people.
“We also have to think about who we’re hurting. They see numbers, they don’t see people,” said Bush.