Texas Representative Suggests Those Who Need Public Assistance Should Be Forced to Work for It
Republican U.S. CongressmanÂ Jodey Arrington of Texas this week decided a House hearing debating the future ofÂ the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was the perfect time to pick and choose a Bible verse to deny the poorÂ food stamps.
After listening to several anti-hunger experts testify on the crisis of food insecurity across the country, including one from a state food bank, a human services agency, and a budget and policy think tank, Rep. Arrington announced he would take five minutes to deliver his own remarks.
“The Scripture tells us inÂ 2 Thessalonians 3-10, he says, ‘For even when we were with you we gave you this rule: If a man will not work he shall not eat.’ And then he goes on to say, ‘We hear that some among you are idle,'” the Texas Congressman preached.
Republicans, like Rep. Arrington, are hell-bent on adding work requirements to as many public assistance programs, including Medicaid, as they can. That, quite frankly, is insane. Less than one-third of people receiving Medicaid assistance are actually able to work. Many are elderly, or children, or disabledÂ â€“ which is why they need Medicaid in the first place.
Rep. Arrington was trying to jam a cherry-picked Bible passage to fit his own prejudices, namely, that poor people are lazy, or, as The Washington Post, which first reported this story says, many Republicans think those utilizing food stamps are “freeloaders.”
“But policy experts say that is not the case.Â Many unemployed adults on SNAP simply cannot work, they say. Those include the mentally ill, the borderline disabled and veterans,” The Post reports.
(While we’re on the subject of veterans, President Trump should take some of his requested $54 billion military budget increase and give it to our service members. Increase their pay. There are far too many military families who literally cannot eat while one or even both parents are risking their lives to protect us. They deserve better.)
“According toÂ the Department of Agriculture, nearly two-thirds of SNAP recipients are children, seniors and people with disabilities,” The Post continues. “Of the remaining third, the vast majority are employed. According to the USDA, only 14 percent of all SNAP participants work less than 30 hours per week.”
Local surveys of SNAP users have shown that many adults who are not working have recently been released from jail â€” or are homeless, veterans, noncustodial parents, people with undiagnosed mental illnesses and teenagers aging out of the foster care system.
Still more may lack the skills or education needed to obtain work in their community â€” particularly if their community has a high unemployment rate, said Stacy Dean, the vice president for food assistance policy at the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
One Twitter user says Rep. Arrington will not hold a town hall, so his constituents will have to attend a $20 a plate luncheon if they want to see him:
The only way the average citizen will be able to see their congressman in District 19? If they pay for it.https://t.co/prU4WE5bx3
â€” Stuart Williams (@CaprockDemocrat) March 29, 2017
Others on Twitter responded to Rep. Arrington, many citing other, more relevant Bible quotes:
@JodeyArrington Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God …Luke 6:20-21
â€” Gayathri (@Gaia387) March 31, 2017
â€” Charlie Campbell (@pippenainteazy) March 31, 2017
Matthew 5:42, 6:24
1 John 3:17
â€” Jon Morse (@jonfmorse) March 31, 2017
.@JodeyArrington “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.
â€” Gweskoyen Korsharat (@Gweskoyen) March 31, 2017
â€” Treehorn Beach Party (@a_dollar_sign) March 31, 2017
â€” Nasty Women RULE! (@58isthenew40) March 31, 2017
â€” Amanda Timpson (@amandarin) March 31, 2017
â€” mad floridian (@madfloridian) March 31, 2017
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‘It’s Not Theirs, It’s Mine’ Trump Told Aides About White House Records Including Classified Documents: NYT
Donald Trump last week claimed all the Dept. of Justice had to do was “ask” for the classified documents, and other items the FBI confiscated a week ago Monday, and he would have returned them, while multiple aides reportedly have quoted him saying those items belonged to him.
“Pat A. Cipollone and Patrick F. Philbin, the White House counsel and his deputy under President Donald J. Trump, were interviewed by the F.B.I. in connection with boxes of sensitive documents that were stored at Mr. Trump’s residence in Florida after he left office, three people familiar with the matter said,” The New York Times Tuesday afternoon reports.
Both were named as Trump’s representatives to the National Archives, so when the Archives discovered it was missing items, including the highly classified documents, NARA reached out to Philbin.
“Mr. Philbin tried to help the National Archives retrieve the material, two of the people familiar with the discussions said. But the former president repeatedly resisted entreaties from his advisers,” the Times’ Maggie Haberman reports.
“’It’s not theirs, it’s mine,’ several advisers say Mr. Trump told them,” according to the Times.
That’s a different response to the one Trump posted to his Truth Social account last week.
“Number one, it was all declassified,” Trump wrote, a claim experts question.
“Number two,” Trump added, “they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request.”
“They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago,” he continued in a separate post on Truth Social. “ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK.”
Despite NARA retrieving the 15 cartons in January, there were more items they wanted returned. In May Trump was sent a subpoena, and yet those items were not returned.
In June, a Trump lawyer signed a statement saying there were no classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
Two months later, on August 8, the FBI executed the search warrant that reportedly secured 11 sets of classified documents.
The Times adds that in June, “officials then used a subpoena to obtain surveillance footage of the hallway outside a storage room at Mar-a-Lago and saw something that alarmed them.”
The Times on Tuesday does not state what “alarmed” them, but Maggie Haberman at the Times on Saturday reported the surveillance footage revealed items being taken out of that locked storage room.
“The Justice Department also subpoenaed surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago recorded over a 60-day period, including views from outside the storage room,” Haberman reported. “According to a person briefed on the matter, the footage showed that, after one instance in which Justice Department officials were in contact with Mr. Trump’s team, boxes were moved in and out of the room.”
“They also received information from at least one witness who indicated that more material might remain at the residence, people familiar with the investigation said,” she added.
Trump Tweeted ‘Highly Classified Image Taken by a Secret Spy Satellite’ in 2019: Report
In late August of 2019, more than two and a half years into his first and only term, Donald Trump tweeted a photo that many at the time thought might be a classified spy image, setting the internet on fire.
As it turns out, it was.
Calling it “an infamous moment in the Trump presidency — one that former intelligence officials say perfectly illustrated his approach to dealing with state secrets,” NBC News on Tuesday reported that on August 30, 2019, a “former senior intelligence official with firsthand knowledge told NBC News that Trump did indeed tweet a highly classified image taken by a secret spy satellite, as many experts suspected at the time. And in doing so, the official and others said, Trump gave U.S. adversaries keen insights into the U.S. capabilities to spy from above.”
Trump’s Twitter account is gone, permanently suspended after the Jan. 6 insurrection, and with it all the tweets he posted over many years.
But this is a screenshot of that tweet captured by the Internet Archive (with what appears to be Finnish):
“The president tweeted a picture of an Iranian missile launch site that showed a failed ICBM test launch that everybody acknowledged was a highly classified picture taken from space,” former national security adviser John Bolton told NBC News. “He tweeted it out, and that of course declassified it by definition, but also showed what could happen when such a picture, even on a Twitter attachment, was then able to be analyzed by foreign intelligence services.”
“We had this image of the Iranian missile blown up, and it was exquisite intelligence, and he didn’t even wait,” a former senior intelligence official said. “As soon as we showed him, he said, ‘Hey, I’m tweeting this.’”
Trump “spent no time understanding what made something a secret and what we protected,” that former official also told NBC News.
“CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire tried to talk Trump out of doing it,” NBC News adds, “noting that the U.S. spent billions of dollars developing capabilities to capture images from space, and told Trump, ‘You can’t do this. If you put this out, they’re going understand what our capability is.'”
Falsely, he responded: “Look, I’m the president, I can declassify anything.”
Top Democratic House Committee Chairs Accuse Embattled DHS IG of ‘Obstruction’ in Warning They Will ‘Ensure Compliance’
Two of the most powerful House Committee chairs have sent a lengthy letter to embattled Dept. of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari detailing his “obstruction” in investigations, revealing their “investigation is focused precisely on potential misconduct in [his] office,” and warning him if he does not comply with their requests they will “have no choice but to consider alternate means to ensure compliance.”
Cuffari (photo), who was installed by then-President Donald Trump in 2019, is already accused of holding back information from Congress, including delaying for many months the release of information that Secret Service agents’ text massages from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, were erased, and that the cell phones of top Trump appointees at DHS also were erased.
“Since May 2022, we have written to you on three separate occasions to request documents and information about your conduct as Inspector General,” write Carolyn Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security.
Detailing those instances, they say, “first, following serious allegations that your office censored findings of domestic abuse and sexual harassment by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees; second, after you failed to promptly notify Congress of crucial information on the Secret Service’s erasure of text messages related to the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol; and third, after new information emerged on your repeated failures to gather text messages from the Secret Service and other senior officials related to the January 6 attack.”
The two chairs further accuse Cuffari: “you have refused to produce responsive documents and blocked employees in your office from appearing for transcribed interviews. Your obstruction of the Committees’ investigations is unacceptable, and your justifications for this noncompliance appear to reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of Congress’s authority and your duties as an Inspector General. If you continue to refuse to comply with our requests, we will have no choice but to consider alternate measures to ensure your compliance.”
Addressing his handling of the Secret Service investigation, they add they have “grave concerns about your lack of transparency and independence,” and note, “we urged you to step aside from this critical investigation and allow another IG to complete this work.”
They also reveal that Cuffari “removed key information before sending a subsequent semiannual report to Congress in June 2022. An earlier draft version of the report would have provided Congress with a detailed explanation of Secret Service’s ‘resistance to OIG’s oversight activities’ and refusal to produce documents. The draft report also included detailed information about the Secret Service’s erasure of text messages.”
At one point in the eight-page letter they also state: “Career staff in your office reportedly drafted a management alert in October 2021 that would have alerted Congress and the public, but you ‘rejected sending the alert.'”
And they note that Cuffari is refusing their requests while they cite examples when he complied with requests from their Republican predecessors.
“Your failure to comply with our outstanding requests lacks any legal justification and is unacceptable,” they conclude. “Please provide all responsive documents by August 23, 2022, and make the individuals requested for transcribed interviews available by the same date. If you continue to obstruct, we will have no choice but to consider alternate means to ensure compliance.”
The Washington Post adds that Cuffari “has rejected calls from leading Democratic legislators to recuse himself from the investigation into the erasure of text messages that Secret Service agents exchanged during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, drawing fresh rebukes from lawmakers on Tuesday.”
“Cuffari said forcing him to step aside ‘has no legal basis’ and ‘would upend the very independence that Congress has established for Inspectors General,’ according to the letter he sent to House oversight committees on Aug. 8.”
Read the full letter here.
This article has been updated with the addition of reporting from The Washington Post.
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