Sunday, February 5, 2012

The House

By a 395-27 vote, the House approved legislation that would prevent welfare recipients from accessing their payments in strip clubs, casinos and liquor stores, a proposal Republicans back as a way to reduce waste and abuse of federal payments.

Republicans called up the bill under a suspension of House rules, which required a two-thirds majority vote. While some Democrats grumbled that the bill demeans people who need help, others indicated support for the bill as a common-sense way to reduce waste and ensure that payments go to help families.

The bill, H.R. 3567, was opposed by just one Republican and only 26 Democrats, making it easy for Republicans to reach the two-thirds majority.

The House had already passed similar language twice before, and Republicans were looking to pass it again to encourage House and Senate negotiators to include it in a bill to extend the payroll tax holiday for a full year. The fact that it had already passed made it easy for Democrats to simply accept it again.

"I'll vote for it next month too if that will make for more cooperation in the House," said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas).

During the debate, Democrats argued that the bill could prevent some families from buying food in stores that also sell liquor. But Republicans said the bill gives states the authority to exempt these stores from the ban.

House Democrats, nearly defenseless, argued in a debate before the vote that the ban would effectively bar citizens from buying necessary food items from a liquor store in case of an emergency. However, Republicans were careful to not include those stores in the ban and were declared exempt.

Honestly, one has to wonder how many welfare recipients are or have been caught at the strip club. With Americans fighting historic poverty levels, regarding unemployment and foreclosures, why are House Republicans worrying about passing bills that affect welfare recipients?

While Boustany is ironically concerned about the “fraudulent misuse of funds,” Americans must ask themselves if our elected officials are grossly misusing our funds.

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