Skip to comments.Bush Calls for Eliminating Program for Needy Seniors (Drowns Bag of Kittens, Too!)
Posted on 02/10/2006 7:00:37 AM PST by Diana in Wisconsin
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush wants to eliminate a program that provides poor seniors with vegetables, peanut butter and other nutritious foods, proposing in his budget that recipients be moved to food stamps.
Critics argue that the change will leave the seniors worse off than they are now.
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program, targeted for the chopping block, provides nutritionally balanced boxes of food to about a half-million poor people on a monthly basis, including 5,000 in Wisconsin. The majority of beneficiaries are elderly, although some women and children also participate.
The Department of Agriculture, which administers the CSFP program, proposes moving recipients to food stamps starting in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. But CSFP advocates say that many seniors are reluctant to sign up for food stamps, and that in any event, the program often provides a more generous package.
The proposal could face strong opposition on Capitol Hill.
Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations agriculture subcommittee, said he would oppose it.
"I call it misplaced priorities. How do you justify doing something like this, while at the same time giving people like Herb Kohl huge tax cuts?" said Kohl, a multimillionaire.
"It really does come under the category, in the most extreme way, of balancing the budget on the backs of those who are most needy. And in this case we're not even balancing the budget."
Congress funded about $111 million for the program in the current fiscal year, including a $4 million supplement for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The CSFP program, which dates back to 1968, operates in 32 states and the District of Columbia. Its lack of national reach is one reason the administration wants to eliminate it, according to USDA officials.
Kate Coler, the USDA's deputy under secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, said the department believes it can serve people more efficiently through food stamps and the Women, Infants and Children program, which are both nationwide.
"It's really a duplicative program," she said of CSFP.
Recipients of CSFP boxes receive powdered milk, vegetables, cereal, juice, meat, fruit, protein (peanut butter or beans), starch (such as dehydrated potatoes, rice or pasta) and cheese.
Sherrie Tussler, executive director of the Hunger Task Force, which administers the program in Milwaukee, estimated that the monthly box provides about five to seven meals.
"It helps stretch their food-buying budget," she said. "Sometimes seniors are choosing between utility bills and prescription drugs and whether they get to eat."
Tussler said that the program may be duplicative to food stamps, but that many seniors need both. The Bush administration proposes providing CSFP beneficiaries with transitional food stamp benefits of $20 a month for six months, or until they are determined eligible for food stamps, whichever comes first.
Sarah Mayek, 75, of Milwaukee, receives both the CSFP box and $10 a month for food stamps.
"You try to stretch your budget a little bit," Mayek said. Without CSFP, she said, "I would have to adjust. But I raised 11 children. I know how to cut corners."
Tim Robertson, president of the National CSFP Association, which represents state and local organizations that administer the program, challenged the USDA's premise that people will switch over to food stamps.
"Seniors have repeatedly said they don't want to be on that program," Robertson said, because of the perceived stigma of using food stamps and the paperwork hassles.
The USDA's own statistics show that just 28 percent of seniors eligible for food stamps participate in the program.
Jean Daniel, a spokeswoman for the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, said the organization is working to remove the perceived stigma. For example, she said, the agency is getting the word out that food stamp payments are now made by an electronic transfer card, not actual stamps.
"We try to make the point that this is not a welfare program, this is a nutritional assistance program," she said.
LOL! Does he think he's Bob Dole, speaking in the Third Person like that? I can't believe he could put together a coherent sentence, actually. My Senator. *SIGH*
Herb could pick up this program himself and provide veggies & cheese to Granny with the chump change he has in his pocket. But that would be considered a duplicative effort were it HIS money and not ours. *Rolleyes*
So, old people who never saved a dime in their lives don't want anyone to call them on it, or put them through the ordeal of admitting in writing that they are irresponsible losers?
Who's going to be Kohl's sacrifical lamb this year for the Senate race?
"made by an electronic transfer card, not actual stamps."
Hide the problem and it will go away, apparently.
I hate social programs as much as the next guy, but I suggest we stop giving billions away to foreign governments before we stop giving it to our own people.
"Who's going to be Kohl's sacrifical lamb this year for the Senate race?"
I haven't heard a peep. :(
Which is one of the most idiotic things the gubmint does - and that's saying something. Everyone throws this crap out or gives it away.
They didn't. Everybody died in the 1800's. Oh wait, how does that explain us being here?
Where are these people's FAMILIES???? Aren't they supposed to take care of them?
Drowns them, then eats them apparently.
Here's what you do, Herbie, if you don't think you're paying enough in taxes:
write the gummint a check for more!
Just get your theivin' hand out of MY pocket, cheesebreath!
"Herb Kohl is Mad as H#ll and He's Not Going to Take it Anymore!" Ping
Could our Senator be any more USELESS to us? Grrrrr!
I'd be happy if all gov't social programs were eliminated!
Probably a good starting point.
That is adorable! I never thought to eat a kitten like a rack of ribs or an ear of corn before, LOL! :)
Why are we trying to feed 500,000 individual people with one program. Why don't we just create 500,000 programs, and have each program service the individual needs of their sole recipient? /sarcasm
Me, too. Especially when I drive by the local low-income housing project and see all of the nice cars and the satellite dishes outside! Grrrr.
That one looks pretty furry. Bet 43 had to floss afterwards.