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Food Stamps Or Tax Cuts…Food Stamps…Or…Tax…Cuts…

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Quite a decision…

House Republicans are pushing to cut tens of thousands of legal immigrants off food stamps, partially reversing President Bush’s efforts to win Latino votes by restoring similar cuts made in the 1990s.

The food stamp measure is just one of several provisions in an expansive congressional budget-cutting package that critics say unfairly targets the poor and disadvantaged, especially poor children.

Republican lawmakers want to cut programs for the poor and disadvantaged? What? That’s never happened!

The food stamp cuts in the House measure would knock nearly 300,000 people off nutritional assistance programs, including 70,000 legal immigrants, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Those immigrants would lose their benefits because the House measure would require legal immigrants to live in the United States for seven years before becoming eligible to receive food stamps, rather than the current five years.

About 40,000 children would lose eligibility for free or reduced-price school lunches, the CBO estimated.

The food stamp cuts, if approved, will especially affect 11 states, including Maryland, that used the changes in the food stamp law — approved with Bush’s support in 2002 — to expand eligibility and to simplify the application process. Under the House measure, eligibility for food stamps would be tightened to exclude some recipients who qualify for nutritional support simply because they qualify for other anti-poverty programs funded by the federal welfare program, known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

But wait! There’s more…

The Senate action will feature a showdown over a bid to open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, as well as confrontations over limits to agriculture subsidies, Medicaid payments and Hurricane Katrina relief.

Priorities are officially out of whack.