With the newly elected Congress, anti-hunger champions have to take their good news where they can find it, or perhaps where they can imagine it, at least that’s what I did reading yesterday’s New York Times front page story on California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee. It can be read at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/us/politics/28oversight.html?_r=1&hpw
Issa is quoted as saying the government needs “to go on a diet” to erase the annual budget deficit of $1.4 trillion and states his goal of focusing on places where money can be saved. According to the Times he has drawn up this “list of big targets: $40 billion a year in fraud or waste in Medicare, tens of billions of dollars in subsidies to government controlled mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; $8.5 billion in losses by the Postal Service in the last fiscal year; tens of millions of dollars spent on redundant programs within federal agencies or squandered through corrupt contracting practices.”
But as was the case with Sherlock Holmes who was struck by the conspicuous silence of the dog that didn’t bark, I was struck by the lack of any reference to anti-hunger or anti-poverty programs, or even SNAP, often a favorite target. Perhaps Issa will prove to be the deficit hawk that does not indiscriminately swoop down on the voiceless and vulnerable, and also prove our thesis that such food and nutrition programs now have a solid track record and bipartisan support.
It was just one article about one member of the new House leadership, but for a moment I was surprised and just slightly, temporarily, encouraged.