Another day of photo ops yesterday for Senator Steve Daines, who apparently believes the key to his re-election is convincing TV news stations to treat his staged events as news. Last night, the Senator selflessly tweeted about spending some time packing some lunches for kids at Hellgate Elementary.
Cindy and I had the pleasure of packing lunches for the school lunch program at Hellgate Elementary. The work they’re doing to keep kids fed during these times is saving lives. #MontanaProud pic.twitter.com/L8SugqegM8
— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) April 23, 2020
It’s nice that Daines spent enough time there to snap some photos in and even get a news station to cover it, but it underscores a far more critical point: Daines has worked his entire career to undermine food security for Montana families.
In his first year in Congress, Daines voted to remove three million people living in poverty from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program and cut 210,000 children from free and reduced lunches, even though local Montana food banks argued it would drastically drive up the number of hungry Montanans.
In 2018, Daines supported work requirements for SNAP that would have been particularly devastating during the COVID-19 outbreak, even though they would have meant that hungry children could suffer because of decisions their parents made.
In 2019, Daines supported a Trump Administration measure to impose increased testing that would trim 3.1 million from the SNAP program, even though the US Department of Agriculture noted that the rule would increase hunger and particularly harm elderly Americans:
USDA acknowledges that millions could lose assistance if the eligibility rule is changed, potentially worsening hunger among many low-income households.
“The proposed rule may also negatively impact food security and reduce the savings rates among those individuals who do not meet the income and resource eligibility requirements for SNAP or the substantial and ongoing requirements for expanded categorical eligibility,” the department says in its impact analysis.
USDA estimates that about 9 percent of SNAP households would no longer qualify for the program.
The department also estimates that more than 13 percent of all SNAP households with elderly members would lose benefits.
Let that quote sink in. Even though the Department of Agriculture admitted the cuts would worsen hunger, Daines supported them.
While it’s certainly noble that Senator Daines generously provided the media advance news that he intended to put together some sandwiches for kids, it reveals the fundamental emptiness of the man. While he desperately seeks attention for every small act of kindness to increase his odds of re-election, if we do re-elect him, he will undermine the very programs he wants us to believe he supports.
Daines has repeatedly voted to undermine food security for Montana children, families, and the elderly. Slapping together a few PB and Js can’t make up for that.
Whether it’s healthcare, nutrition, or a whole host of issues, Steve Daines wants you to believe that he cares about struggling Montanans, but never forget that every vote tells another story.