The Daily Caller this morning reports that the U.S. government has been spending money advertising our food stamp program in other countries.
"Contrary to sound policy, the United States is spending money advertising food stamp benefits in foreign consulates," states a Thursday evening press release from the office of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), an outspoken opponent of the Mexico-U.S. Partnership for Nutrition Assistance Initiative.
Why are we unaware of the fact that our government is spending our tax dollars in this fashion? The campaign was on the down low, mentioned rarely in public agency materials. Gee, I wonder why Congress and the Dept. of Agriculture felt the need for such clandestineness. Perhaps they intuited that we Americans would wonder why our tax dollars are being used to promote food stamps to foreigners when we are losing our homes and our jobs and our national deficit is 16 trillion times the size of Kanye West's ego.
The USDA and the Mexican government have entered into a relationship almost as dysfunctional as that of Chris Brown and Rihanna. The partnership is guised as an effort to educate and inform low-income Hispanics who need nutrition assistance, but you'd think such efforts would be directed at Hispanics living inside our country, wouldn't you? What's next? Is the USDA going to start promoting our food stamp program in Cuba?
On its webpage, the USDA describes the program thusly:
"USDA and the government of Mexico have entered into a partnership to help educate eligible Mexican nationals living in the United States about available nutrition assistance. Mexico will help disseminate this information through its embassy and network of approximately 50 consular offices."
I really don't see how advertising in Mexico will educate Hispanics in the States, but hey, what do I know?
Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, said, "The Mexico-U.S. Partnership for Nutrition Assistance Initiative is just one of a wide range of USDA partnership activities intended to promote awareness of nutrition assistance among those who need benefits and meet all program requirements under current law," in a letter to Sen. Sessions.
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He went on to share the fact that USDA representatives had met with officials from the Mexican government on 150 separate occasions to promote the initiative. I guess we're also subsidizing Mexican vacations for American bureaucrats.
Sen. Sessions, in a rare moment of lucidity in Congress, proposed an end to this program. He says his proposed amendment "would prohibit any funds from being spent on this controversial promotion campaign." Democrats voted to reject the proposal, thwarting the effort to prevent further funds being used in such a specious manner.
Those of you who read my column regularly are aware that I'm an independent, and therefore, completely nonpartisan. Except for a few politicos, I think that neither party is looking out for our best interests. But I would love twenty minutes alone with the Dems who voted down Sen. Session's proposal to end this wasteful program.
Follow Ily on Twitter @realily.