The so-called Freedom Caucus, the hard-right faction of congressmembers who are willing to shut down the government to get deep spending cuts, has long had it in for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. In fact, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s reluctance to abrogate his debt-ceiling deal with President Biden and demand more cuts in SNAP fed into his ouster by the nihilist faction he once led. His eventual replacement, Mike Johnson, is outspoken in his disdain for the program, and only entreaties by farm state Republicans desperate to preserve commodity programs kept Johnson from derailing a one-year extension authorizing farm and nutrition programs, including SNAP.
But, as per the horror films, they’re back, demanding a new round of program cuts as Congress struggles to avoid yet another federal shutdown come February. Progressives cannot afford to allow this to happen. SNAP is not just a food assistance program; it is an essential anti-poverty tool that we can ill afford to lose.