Soledad O’Brien Slams GOP Senator on Food Stamps

<a href="http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/2012/12/11/sen-sessions-food-stamp-program-is-">CNN</a>

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While President Obama and the Democrats have talked a lot about protecting the middle class from tax hikes and entitlement cuts in any debt deal that eventually emerges from the fiscal nightmare, it looks increasingly likely that food stamps will come under the knife. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Senate budget committee, has taken the lead recently in attacking these “gifts” to the poor. Monday night on CNN, Sessions said the food-stamp program—which now serves a record 47 million peopleis “out of control” and needs to be cut down to size. But Soledad O’Brien took him to school.

When asked if food stamps should be on the table in fiscal negotiations, Sessions said “absolutely” and pulled a Romney, saying that Congress needs to “identify how we can move people from dependency to independence.” He added that there were a lot of people getting benefits who didn’t qualify for them.

“Let me stop you there,” O’Brien said. She pointed to the fact that Sessions had voted to expand the food-stamp program in 2002 and 2008. And she cited a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report that found the food-stamp program to have “one of the most rigorous quality control systems of any public benefit program in recent years [and] has received its lowest error rates on record.” (“That’s not accurate,” Sessions riposted, attacking CBPP’s methodology.)

Then, O’Brien went for the jugular. “I mean, it’s 61 percent of households in your state have children who are recipients of the food program they are on,” she said. At a loss, Sessions attempted to shift the conversation. “Do you think there’s no problem with the program?” he asked O’Brien. “Do you think it’s perfectly well-run?”

“I guess my question would be, when are you thinking of things to cut… Why not cut something else? There are other things that could be on the table before you pick a program that is feeding the nation’s poor children.” 

“I’m not picking a program,” he responded. “I say all programs need to be examined in this government.” Translation: It’s about shared sacrifice for all Americans, hungry kids and Lloyd Blankfeins alike.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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