CNN’s Soledad O’Brien tore into Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-AL) efforts cut food stamps on CNN’s Starting Point Tuesday morning, arguing that the lawmaker’s efforts would disadvantage thousands of lower-income constituents who rely on the program. Earlier this year, Sessions proposed an amendment to the Farm Bill that would have removed $11 billion from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over 10 years. The effort ultimately failed.
The conservative lawmaker defended his proposed cuts to a visibly skeptical O’Brien, arguing that growing enrollment in food stamps during a period of shrinking unemployment suggests that Americans are free riding on the program for free government meals. O’Brien observed that Sessions himself twice voted to grow SNAP during the Bush administration and cited a study showing minimum fraud and abuse in the program.
“Twenty percent of your constituents are on food stamps and they look at the people who are actually eligible, it’s something like under 70 percent who [are] eligible who sign up,” O’Brien said: