Sequester Furloughs USDA Food Inspectors, But Dems Preserve U.S.-Mexico Food Stamp “Partnership”
According to the Obama Administration, the sequester was going to potentially cause many more food-borne illnesses because USDA food inspectors would be furloughed. But that hasn't stopped Democrats from spending your money to tell people in Mexico about our food-stamp program!
Without any fanfare, Democratic legislators have successfully continued a multi-million dollar program that "educates" citizens in Mexico about the U.S. Food Stamp program. According to Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R), the program "raises awareness" about what is available in the United States if you're a food stamp recipient.
Since the program was created during the Bush Administration, it has chewed up millions of dollars, according to Fox News:
"According to a letter from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to Sessions last September, the "partnership" since 2004 has included roughly 91 meetings between U.S. and Mexico embassy and consulate staff; 29 health fair events; and 31 roundtable discussions, conferences and forums in 20 cities. "
Some 20 of these meetings have occurred since 2008, and while it is hard to put a specific price tag on the expenses, it is believed to be in the millions of dollars. More important however, says Sessions, the program has had a direct result in the number of illegal immigrants coming to the U.S. Sessions claims spelling out the attributes of the program can only make it more enticing for illegal aliens to come to the U.S., knowing their basic food needs will probably be met. The USDA refutes those claims.
A 24 page letter the USDA sent to Senator Sessions denying these claims, it does show however, that the program (known now as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) has increased it's enrollment by 75% since it began.
Sessions blasted the priorities of the Democratic Budget Committee over the decision:
"It is amazing that Budget Committee Democrats would unanimously vote to continue funding these costly promotions, especially when our debt is causing such profound economic harm."
While still planning to furlough numerous food inspectors, the USDA has since backed off the Obama Administration claims cutbacks would cause widespread food disease outbreaks due to less oversight of farms, feed lots, and production facilities.