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by Greg Martin, click here for bio
Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: July 17, 12
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Demanding Answers. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.
Top Senate Ag Republican Pat Roberts is demanding answers from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on taxpayer-funded food stamp radio ads modeled after Spanish Soap Operas. Roberts does not think the ads help efforts to get a farm bill done. Roberts wrote Vilsack for a full accounting of taxpayer-funded SNAP promotional campaigns for the last 10 fiscal years - including languages used, food stamp dollars spent, states and entities funded and sign-up results.
ROBERTS: We’re spending millions of taxpayer dollars to advertise the food stamp program or the SNAP program modeled after soap-operas. And then we’re hearing about grants to states that have signed up more people that their quota. This is very disturbing.
Roberts feels President Obama wants to recruit as many people as possible to enroll in food stamps and says he has some serious questions about that. Not good at a time when House Ag Republicans and Democrats just had a huge fight over food stamp cuts that are four-times the size of Senate-passed cuts. Roberts was asked if the Spanish Soap Opera style ads complicate farm bill politics in the House.
ROBERTS: I don’t think there’s any question about it because it gets people’s attention right off the bat. We’ve been concerned about advertising with the Health and Human Services folks as well advertising the benefits of Obamacare and same kind of issue. So what are you doing advertising about food stamps when we have an outreach program within the USDA who does a good job of reaching people who truly need them.
Roberts says Senate Democrats drew red lines against bigger food stamp cuts in the Senate Farm Bill - knowing the House GOP would cut more. The furor over the SNAP ads also comes at a critical time when Speaker John Boehner hasn’t even decided to bring the farm bill to the House floor and publicly criticized a key dairy provision. Roberts says this is no time to delay the farm bill.
ROBERTS: We’re worried about the drought. We’re worried about the entire country in regards to every session getting worse. Now is no time not to be passing a farm bill. We can work things out in conference. I think that we can be true to some of the policy concerns that the speaker has. He’s got to make the decision as well as the leadership over there what has to pass, how many days are left and will that actually come to the floor.
That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.
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