David Vitter on Welfare & Poverty
Republican Jr Senator; previously Representative (LA-1)
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D, MD): [In developing national service over many years] we were not in the business of creating another new social program. What we were in the business of was creating a new social invention. What do I mean by that? In our country, we are known for our technological inventions. But also often overlooked, and sometimes undervalued, is our social inventions.
We created national service to let young people find opportunity to be of service and also to make an important contribution. But not all was rosy. In 2003, when I was the ranking member on the appropriations subcommittee funding national service, they created a debacle. One of their most colossal errors was that they enrolled over 20,000 volunteers and could not afford to pay for it. That is how sloppy they were in their accounting. I called them the "Enron of nonprofits."
And they worked on it. But all that is history. We are going to expand AmeriCorps activity into specialized corps. One, an education corps; another, a health futures corps; another, a veterans corps; and another called opportunity corps. These are not outside of AmeriCorps. They will be subsets because we find this is where compelling human need is and at the same time offers great opportunity for volunteers to do it.
Opponent's argument to vote No:No senators spoke against the amendment.
Congressional summary:: The SNAP Verify Act: Amends the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to require a member or representative of a household that receives supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits (SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program) to present photographic verification when using an electronic benefit card for a SNAP purchase.
Opponent's argument against (New Orleans Times-Picayune, Jan. 15, 2014): Some advocacy groups for the poor quickly condemned the Vitter legislation. "Many poor people do not have photo ID's, and it costs money they do not have to get them," said the executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs. "Senator Vitter's proposal will be especially tough on elderly and poor people who do not have the documents needed to get their photo ID, and who will struggle even to get to the necessary offices. They will wind up going without food."
Opponent's argument against (Rick Paulas on KCET, "Food Rant", Feb. 12, 2014): On the surface, the case for photo ID at the point of sale is full of logic. It will finally put an end to problem of food stamp fraud! No more will poor people scam the system! If a person's forced to show identification when they buy groceries, people who shouldn't be using them won't be able to do so! (Sidenote: The main method of food stamp fraud is recipients selling their SNAP for cash, in order to use the money on items that are not food) Since we're using logic then, it only makes sense to ask how many people are defrauding the system. The answer: Not a whole lot. To be exact: A little over 1% of food stamps issued are sold on the black market. But, forcing SNAP recipients to show ID will certainly cut down on this number a tad. But as far as the food stamp ID argument goes, the question remains to be answered: How exactly does the Republican party benefit from fewer Americans being able to eat?