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Opposing Food Stamps While Accepting Farm Subsidies

May 23, 2013
Fincher on the Farm (Credit: Nashville Public Radio)

Fincher on the Farm (Credit: Nashville Public Radio)

In what has to be one of the most egregious examples of tone deafness, Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tennessee) condemned poor Americans who relied on the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—more commonly known as food stamps—as stealing “other people’s money” at the same time he was receiving tens of thousands of dollars in agricultural subsidies.

The Environmental Working Group observed that Fincher is the second most heavily subsidized farmer in Congress and one of the largest subsidy recipients in Tennessee history. In commends made as a member of the House Agriculture Committee responsible for drafting the Farm Bill, Fincher argued that, “We are all here on this committee making decisions about other people’s money. We have to remember there is not a big printing press in Washington that continually prints money over and over.  This is other people’s money that Washington is appropriating and spending.”

According to USDA data collected by the Environmental Working Group, Fincher collected $3.48 million in direct farm payments from the government between 1999 and 2012. In 2012 alone, he received $70,000 in direct payments. The average SNAP benefit in Tennessee, by contrast, is just $132.20 per month ($1,586.40 for the year).

But as the EWG notes, “After voting to cut SNAP by more than $20 billion, Fincher joined his colleagues to support a proposal to expand crop insurance subsidies by $9 billion over the next 10 years.”

It’s good to know he’s keeping an eye on our money.

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