Tuesday, February 4, 2014

U.S. Senate passes farm bill that cuts food stamps by $8.6 billion, Obama promises to sign bill into law, farm bill also gives historically Black Central State University in Ohio land- grant status to qualify for additional federal resources, U.S. Senators Brown and Portman from Ohio support farm bill, some labor groups oppose it, racial gap in college degree attainment between Blacks and Whites is in no way shrinking, Non-Hispanic Whites make up 63 percent of U.S. population, Hispanics make up 17 percent, Blacks make up 12 percent, 36 percent of food stamp recipients are White, 23 percent Black, 15 percent Hispanic, data show, CSU President Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammonds thanks Congress for CSU land-grant status

By  Kathy Wray Coleman, Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Most Read Online Black Newspaper and Newspaper Blog. Tel: 216-659-0473. (Kathy Wray Coleman is a 20-year investigative and political journalist and legal reporter who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper, Ohio's Black press)

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The U.S.  Senate on Tuesday passed a $1 trillion farm bill  that the House of Representatives approved last week that provides a financial cushion for farmers, sets agricultural policy over a decade, and cuts food stamps to poor families by $8.6 billion over the next 10 years. It also gives land- grant status to Central State University, Ohio's only publicly funded historically Black university.

United States President Barack Obama
Formally known as H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2014, President Barack Obama, the nation's first Black president, promised to sign the farm bill into law as soon as it hits his desk. 

Some 850,000 households across the nation will lose an average of $90 per month in food stamp benefits.

According to the U.S  Department of Agriculture about 36 percent of American non-Hispanic Whites, 23 percent of Blacks, and some 15 percent of Hispanics utilize food stamps. 

The latest U.S. census reports show that Non-Hispanic Whites make up 63 percent of the U.S., Hispanics, 17 percent, Blacks, 12.3 percent, Asians, 5 percent, and multiracial Americans, 2.4 percent.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
The largely Republican Senate passed the controversial bill by a 68 to 32 margin earlier today, inclusive of support from Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, and Republican Sen. Rob Portman, both from Ohio. 
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
Excuses aside, congressional Democrats that support the bill, which is opposed by a number of labor groups across the country including The Labor Fightback Network, say that they negotiated the best they could in maintaining the food stamp program known as SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. They say the 1 percent cut in food stamps is a win-win situation with congressional Republicans anxious to cut the program altogether. Opponents, however, say that cuts to supplements to the poor are inexcusable as America recovers from a national recession that has hit minorities and the poor the hardest.

Designating CSU with land -grant status opens the door for additional federal resources. A land-grant college or university is an institution designated by Congress to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. CSU falls under the latter.  The Morrill Acts provided federal land sold by the state to fund agricultural studies at public colleges and universities.

Central State is located in  Wilberforce, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton. It was founded in 1887 and has a student enrollment of roughly 2,000 people. 

Granting CSU land-grant status may be the only benefit that poor Blacks that aren't farmers can see coming from the farm bill. And that might prove minimal since it was sanctioned with the caveat of starving poor Black families, mainly women and children.

Overall about 32.6 percent of the non-Hispanic White population in America over the age of 25 holds a college degree compared to 19.6 percent of adult Blacks, according to research published in the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. 

Today nearly 4.6 million African-Americans hold a college degree, but the racial gap in degree attainments is in no way shrinking, data show. 

Central State University President
Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammonds

"Central State University, the board of trustees, faculty, staff and students are immensely grateful for Sen Sherrod Brown’s leadership, the perseverance and his dedication in support of CSU receiving land-grant status," said CSU President Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammonds in a press release to Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper. (www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)