Connectictut Gov. Dannel Malloy blasted Speaker John Boehner as “disingenuous at best and shameful at worst” on Monday for calling some states cheaters and frauds because they are thwarting congressional efforts to reduce food-stamp payments.
“Congress wrote the bill. Congress passed the bill. And now states are implementing the law, your reprehensible comments notwithstanding,” Democrat Malloy wrote in his letter to the speaker.
“Furthermore, your demonization of states that have elected to provide this benefit impugns the children, the elderly, the disabled, the low-wage workers, and veterans who receive such aid by implying that they are a party to something criminal,” Malloy stated.
“Any governor who chooses to undermine the bipartisan reforms in the farm bill is weakening the critical home-heating program and taking money out of every American taxpayer’s pocket,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in response to Malloy’s letter.
At issue are efforts by Malloy and the governors in Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont to maintain current levels of food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. Those moves could affect portions of the recently passed farm bill aimed at saving $8.6 billion over the next 10 years.
The farm bill’s much-touted reductions were brought about largely by changing eligibility requirements for food stamps, which are based in some cases on eligibility for low-income heating assistance provided by the states. As many as 17 states could pay out as little as $1 to recipients to boost that person’s eligibility for food aid. The farm bill changed that requirement to at least $20.01, and the assumption was that the federal funding for the food-stamps program would decrease as a result.
Yet in an effort to avoid the cuts, Connecticut officials have shifted an added $1.4 million of funds available under the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program to meet the new threshold. The move is expected to preserve about $66.6 million in annual food-stamp benefits for households in Connecticut.
And other states have said they are pursuing or considering similar efforts.
Malloy, in his letter on Monday, noted that media accounts have quoted Boehner as responding, “Since the passage of the farm bill, states have found ways to cheat, once again, on signing up people for food stamps…. And so I would hope the House would act to try and stop this cheating and this fraud from continuing.”
But Malloy pointed out that his state and others are implementing an option spelled out in the law.
“To characterize as cheating and fraud states’ implementation of this provision is disingenuous at best and shameful at worst,” Malloy wrote. “Congress intended to grant states the authority to provide this vital benefit, which is a lifeline to some of our most vulnerable constituents.”
“To the contrary, I think most would argue that denying residents of my state $112 a month in nutrition assistance is morally wrong,” he stated.
What We're Following See More »
Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."