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Salmonella outbreaks. E. coli outbreaks. Millions of dollars in economic losses.

These are among the scenarios the Obama administration warned about last month as it claimed the sequester would force the U.S. Department of Agriculture to furlough meat inspectors.

But while the administration prepares to take that step, it continues to pursue a “partnership” with the Mexican government to “raise awareness” about food stamps among immigrants from that country. When a top Senate Republican proposed cutting off funds for that program last week — in the form of an amendment to a budget resolution — Democrats on the Budget Committee shot it down.

It’s hard to put a firm price on the cost of the partnership, which was launched under the George W. Bush administration. But an aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who has railed against the partnership for months, said it could easily be in the millions. Since 2004, the program has blossomed to include dozens of meetings and conferences and health fairs with Mexican officials — all of which cost money, not to mention the cost to the food stamp program of new enrollees brought in as a result of this partnership.

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