There was a rare moment of candor on the House floor this week.
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), a committee chairman and the man who led House Republicans to their majority in 2010, was explaining why he and his colleagues decided to drop the food stamp program from the farm bill.
“What we have carefully done is exclude some extraneous pieces,” he said.
Extraneous? For almost 50 years, food stamps have been part of the annual farm bill, and the $80 billion spent on the program keeps tens of millions of Americans, about half of them children, from going hungry.
“Kids going to bed hungry at night in this nation is extraneous?” asked Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).
“The 47 million people who are on SNAP” — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — “are not extraneous,” argued Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). “They are important. They are part of our community.”
And on Thursday afternoon, they were figuratively banished from the American community. Without a single Democratic vote, House Republicans narrowly passed a bill that, if allowed to stand, would provide hundreds of billions of dollars in agriculture subsidies but not a dime for the hungry.