Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Jul 04th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

sam farr2What impacts would the Republican Farm Bill, recently passed in the House without any support from Democrats, have? 

A few weeks ago, the Republican leadership in the House passed a Farm Bill that did not include funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, that helps feed millions of Americans—primarily children, seniors and individuals with disabilities. Not a single Democrat voted for the bill. This split bill was only offered after Tea Party Republicans killed an earlier Farm Bill that contained drastic cuts to SNAP funding. 

The Farm Bill is a piece of legislation that determines how we feed ourselves as a nation. For the first time in almost five decades, one chamber of Congress has passed a Farm Bill that does nothing to address the hungry. That ignores half of the equation. If you take away people who need the food, then you take away the purpose of agriculture.

Fortunately, we still have an opportunity to fix this mistake. The Republican leadership has claimed they want to take up a separate SNAP-only bill in the future but we have not been given any idea what that would look like. Meanwhile, now that the House has passed a Farm Bill of sorts, Democrats are pushing for a conference committee to reconcile the House bill with the Senate version that includes funding for SNAP.  Thankfully, President Barack Obama has promised to veto any Farm Bill that reaches his desk without adequate funding for SNAP.

So we have a real chance to save funding for SNAP. However, the clock is ticking. The current Farm Bill is set to expire in September. With the support of the President and the Senate, I remain hopeful that we can maintain the SNAP program and live up to our promise to feed the hungry.

What are your hopes for the student loan program?

When I was in the Peace Corps, I learned that if you have access to a safe place to sleep, quality healthcare and an education, then you have a chance to make it in life.

Congressional inaction has pushed one of those pillars further out of reach for millions of American students. Unable to reach a compromise, the student loan rates doubled on July 1 from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Even as market interest rates remain historically low, students and parents now find it harder to pay for a college education. 

Last week, a proposal was put forward in the Senate that would provide temporarily relief and bring the rate down to 3.9 percent for current students. Starting in 2015, rates would then gradually increase with a cap of 8.25 percent.

That news may be comforting for current students but provides little solace for future students. Even a freshman on campus this fall would still have to finance half of their education at a high rate. Combined with the sky-rocketing cost of tuition, the increasing price of higher education will force millions of students to reconsider the value of a degree.

Any measure that only reduces rates for current students is a missed opportunity. Congress needs to come together and develop a real plan to make college more affordable, not one that increases the costs for students and families already struggling to pay for a higher education.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Boards Are Back in Town

More than a century after a famed trio of Hawaiian princes first surfed in Santa Cruz, their redwood olo surfboards are returning to the Museum of Art & History

 

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

Saturday, July 4, is the 239th birthday of the United States, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence (the U.S. astrology chart has Aquarius moon—freedom for its people, by its people). Cancer, a liberating and initiating sign, is the “gate” where Spirit enters matter. Cancer receives and distributes Ray 3 (Divine Intelligence) and Ray 7 (new rules, new rhythms, new free nation under God). Cancer represents an intelligent freethinking humanity that can and must create right economics for the world. This means a policy of sharing, an opportunity for the U.S. when Venus (money, resources, possessions, etc.) retrogrades July and August in Leo (the heart of the matter). The United States has a unique spiritual task for the world: to lead humanity within and toward the light, accomplished by its people who must first awaken to this task, learn discrimination and be directed by the soul to assume the Herculean task of spiritual world leadership. Let us review the first words of our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Let us form that union together. The following is a review of the spiritual tasks for each sign. Read all the signs. They all apply to everyone.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 3

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Lunch is Packed

Picnic basket lunches from Your Place, plus smoked chili peppers, and new owners at Camellia Tea House

 

What would you like the Supreme Court to rule on next?

Raising the minimum wage so that those that are in poverty now can have a higher standard of life. Greanna Smith, Soquel, Nanny

 

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.

 

Ty’s Eatery

Pop-up hooks up with Santa Cruz Food Lounge for healthy comfort food