Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

March 24, 2011

A NEW PLAN TO STOP STRIKES BEFORE THEY START.... Most of the union-busting schemes we've seen in recent months have come at the state level, but Zaid Jilani flags one at the federal level that hasn't generated much attention at all.

GOP Reps. Jim Jordan (OH), Tim Scott (SC), Scott Garrett (NJ), Dan Burton (IN), and Louie Gohmert (TX) have introduced H.R. 1135, which states that it is designed to "provide information on total spending on means-tested welfare programs, to provide additional work requirements, and to provide an overall spending limit on means-tested welfare programs."

Much of the bill is based upon verifying that those who receive food stamps benefits are meeting the federal requirements for doing so. However, one section buried deep within the bill adds a startling new requirement. The bill, if passed, would actually cut off all food stamp benefits to any family where one adult member is engaging in a strike against an employer.

If this seems unusually punitive, that's because it is. The message these Republican lawmakers want to send is as straightforward as it is callous: if you go on strike, your family should have less access to food.

Jon Chait added, "I don't believe these members of Congress actually sought to punish the spouses and children of striking workers, but when you're waging class war, collateral damage is inevitable."

All of this, by the way, comes against a backdrop of GOP policymakers trying to cut the entire food-stamp program, regardless of a person's employment situation, while leaving wasteful agriculture subsidies alone.

It's worth noting, of course, that's extremely unlikely the Democratic Senate and/or Democratic White House would go along with the House Republican plan to punish striking workers like this, but the fact that several prominent GOP lawmakers would even consider this worthwhile says a great deal about their priorities.

Steve Benen 4:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (26)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Priorities? These people are mean-spirited ass holes.

Posted by: stevio on March 24, 2011 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

This deserves an ad. Where is the DNC when we need it? Where is the AFL-CIO? What about the Teamsters?

The Republicans have declared Class Warfare and nobody inside the Beltway seems to notice.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 24, 2011 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Second that motion stevio.

Posted by: Gandalf on March 24, 2011 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Good thing we can rely on our liberal media -- backstopped by our stalwart Democratic leaders -- to ensure that every American of voting age will know and understand the implications of these facts, and will adjust their own voting choices and civic actions accordingly.
Remember, it's only "class warfare" -- and "the politics of envy" -- when we fight back (or for that matter notice and comment on the facts).

Posted by: smartalek on March 24, 2011 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

I recently took a call from the DNC and told them I wasn't going to give them another dime until they started aggressively going after the GOP.

This would be a good opportunity.

In the meantime, everyone needs to call their representatives and show up to any labor rallies in your area.

For those in So. California, there is a big march and rally this Saturday. Details can be found at:

http://www.ourcommunitiesourjobs.com/

Posted by: bdop4 on March 24, 2011 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Until Reagan/Bush, I never thought I'd miss Nixon era Republicans.

During Clinton, I never thought I'd miss Reagan/Bush era Republicans.

During Little Boots, I never thought I'd wish I'd die an early death.

And now, during Obama, Republicans are trying to make my wish may last wish had come true - earlier.

Who knew I'd ever miss Nixon-Reagan/Bush I- Little Boots Republicans?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 24, 2011 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

These guys feel they can get away with anything - and they often have. However the incredible disconnect here is something I have trouble processing - they really are in their own little world.

Another thing to remind people that these folks have all but come out publicly and said "the rich are better than you rabble and we don't care about you, be thankful for scraps."

Posted by: Fang on March 24, 2011 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, a few Democrats will whine and cry about this, most will simply go into hiding as they always do, and, in order to promote bi-partisanship, Obama will go along with it.

You go to war with the party you have. Unfortunately, we have a losing one.

Posted by: walldon on March 24, 2011 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Well, slow down. From the thinkprogress link:

The bill also includes a provision that would exempt households from losing eligibility, "if the household was eligible immediately prior to such strike, however, such family unit shall not receive an increased allotment as the result of a decrease in the income of the striking member or members of the household."

So as I read it, the effect is that the striker can't get food stamps to (partially) make up for the income they're not getting because of being on strike, but the rest of the family -- supposedly -- wouldn't be effected. If they were on food stamps before, they're not getting thrown off.

Posted by: DonBoy on March 24, 2011 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

I think Chait gives them too much credit-these sociopaths want to punish the familes of striking workers.

Posted by: Werewolf on March 24, 2011 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

How many union workers would pass the means test for food stamps? If that number is large, what does that say about the unions?

Posted by: Danp on March 24, 2011 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

If this seems unusually punitive, that's because it is.

Punitive? Try unbelievably callous and grotesquely mean-spirited. Go on strike? Good, your kids will starve. Somebody ought to tell these revolting, subhuman Rethuglican creeps that Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge was a character in literature, not a philosophy to be emulated.

Posted by: John on March 24, 2011 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps the time has come for ACORN to rise from its ashes and start community organizing again. It shouldn't be hard to explain the all out war against the poor that the GOP is waging.

-even with Diebold, et al, most votes still get counted.

Posted by: DAY on March 24, 2011 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

walldon said:
. . . most [Democrats] will simply go into hiding as they always do, and, in order to promote bi-partisanship, Obama will go along with it.

Democrats have two strategies, either:

1) Panicked flight -- like when they threw ACORN and Shirley Sherrod to the wolves, or

2) Cowering under their desks and soiling themselves at the mere thought of having a right-wing talking point aimed in their direction.

It might be that the Democrats only pretending to be cowards and they've already been co-opted by the incipient corporatist regime, in which case, were all screwed.

Posted by: SteveT on March 24, 2011 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Jon Chait added, "I don't believe these members of Congress actually sought to punish the spouses and children of striking workers

Jon Chait has never met Louie Gohmert.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on March 24, 2011 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Classy, that Louis Gohmert is a real peach! So are these other fine individuals!

Posted by: Trollop on March 24, 2011 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Why not call a spade a spade? These guys couldn't care less about a strike. Its unions they are against and labor issues have nothing to do with that objection. Unions are perceived to be a cash trove for Democrats. And that is it.

Posted by: Richard on March 24, 2011 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Following up on DanP's thought, if a union member's family is eligible for food stamps, that in itself should be a reason to go on strike. There should be no penalty for going on strike, and indeed, the strike should receive government encouragement because once it is successful in raising wages to the point that the families are no longer eligible for assistance, it would take people off the government payouts by reducing food stamp payments.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on March 24, 2011 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

From Think Progress:

Believe it or not, there are already a whole host of sanctions against strikers in the current Food Stamp program. Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA) has introduced a bill to do away with these. A 1988 Supreme Court case reversed lower court decisions that ruled these sanctions constitutional.

Posted by: msmolly on March 24, 2011 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

And main street conservatives see nothing, hear nothing, know nothing, and vote accordingly?

Posted by: Skip on March 24, 2011 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

The message these Republican lawmakers want to send is as straightforward as it is callous: if you go on strike, your family should go hungry.

Fixed it for you.

Posted by: AK Liberal on March 24, 2011 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

A particularly dumb set of comments. To clarify:

1) Obama would never go along with this. Those who say he would are opportunistic Obama-bashers.

2) Food stamp approval would be based on the family's income DURING the strike, which would be little (strike fund) or none. A full-time working union member would not qualify for food stamps.

Posted by: chi res on March 24, 2011 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

FWIW --Punitive or mean-spirited may be accurate descriptions, but this is not an unusual criteria for eligibility to assistance programs. In my experience (20 years in social services), most aid programs have limitations on strikers.

Posted by: danimal on March 24, 2011 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

What a lot of liberals still can't figure out which is why we keep hearing the, "Democrats need to toughen up and politically maximize this new information" canard is that most Americans, (even conservatives) know Republicans only care about the economic concerns of the rich.
There's no "a-ha" moment with the electorate because a large chunk of this country votes GOP for non-economic reasons, most of them irrational.

Posted by: Archon on March 24, 2011 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

"This deserves an ad. Where's the DNC?..." Ron Buyers @ 4:22 PM.
"...a call from the DNC and told them I wasn't going to give them another dime until they started aggressively going after the GOP." bdop4 @ 4:26 PM.

I guess Republican/Teabaggers aren't the only ones suffering from "cognitive dissonance"...

Posted by: Doug on March 24, 2011 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

It appears that this is already current law and has been since 1981. Republican priorities haven't changed for quite some time, and it doesn't matter at this point what the Senate and White House will or won't go along with.

Posted by: Don SinFalta on March 24, 2011 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly