The Republican Attack on Feeding the Hungry

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

The end of September marks the 40th anniversary of the Food Stamp Act, the program that institutionalized the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Its passage was a model of how to make constructive and important legislation, finding common ground by making tradeoffs across all the usual boundaries. In this case, the key players included George McGovern and Bob Dole, Tom Foley and Shirley Chisholm, among others.

The McGovern-Dole alliance was a striking one. When I came to Washington in 1969-70, I witnessed the near-nuclear conflict between the two men. First, McGovern, a passionate opponent of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, went on the floor of the Senate on September 1, 1970 and fingered his colleagues for their culpability: “This chamber reeks