In The Know: House may delay a vote on cuts to food stamp program

In The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. E-mail your suggestions for In The Know items to You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

The House of Representatives may indefinitely delay a vote on the new Farm Bill, which includes the biggest reduction in food stamps in over fifteen years.  Farmers and ranchers in Oklahoma and Arkansas generally support the new Farm Bill, but expressed uncertainty about the measure’s changes.  The Oklahoman’s Editorial Board advised climate change “alarmists” to relax – the climate is always changing.

Economic growth in Oklahoma City continues to exceed expectations.  The Oklahoma Department of Health is worried that the West Nile virus could hit the state hard this summer.  Two Republican candidates seeking an open congressional seat vacated by Rep. Dan Boren sparred over a health care campaign ad.

A Tulsa health industry attorney advised businesses that have been in a holding pattern that now is the time to take action to assure smooth implementation of the federal health care law.  The 2012 Oklahoma Suicide Prevention Conference is next Friday, July 20th in Norman.

In today’s Policy Note, the Center for Voting and Democracy ranked Oklahoma last in a 50-state ‘Democracy Index,’ which measured the competitiveness of elections, how well the intent of the electorate is reflected by results, and voter participation.  The Number of the Day is the total amount of federal spending in Oklahoma in 2010.

In The News

Republicans may delay House bill to cut food stamps

Republicans in the House of Representatives may set aside a bill providing for the biggest reduction in food stamps for the poor since 1996, averting a fight over cuts that critics assail as immoral during hard times, House leaders said on Thursday.  Food stamps would see the largest cut, $16 billion over 10 years, in the House farm bill – $2 billion more than for farm subsidies and nearly half of all the savings in the bill.  The cuts, mostly in eligibility rules, are estimated to reduce enrollment by 5 percent. A near-record 46.2 million people, or one in seven Americans, received food stamps at latest count. Enrollment rises during economic distress, such as the current lingering high unemployment.

Read more from Reuters at

Okla., Ark. farmers, ranchers unsure about farm bill passed by US House Agriculture Committee

Farmers and ranchers in Oklahoma and Arkansas said Thursday they support some parts of the farm bill that the U.S. House Agriculture Committee has passed, but all expressed a general uncertainty about the measure.  The committee sent the bill, which costs nearly $100 billion annually, to the full House on a 35-11 vote late Wednesday, three weeks after the Senate passed its version of the half-trillion-dollar legislation.  The current farm bill expires at the end of September.  “I think we’re a long way from a finished product, but there were several things in the farm bill on the House side that we really like,” said Scott Dewald, director of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association.

Read more from the Associated Press at–Farm-Bill-Oklahoma

‘Derecho’ phenomenon has been noted before

The two all-time highest temperatures in Oklahoma City occurred in 1936. And 1934 and 1936 were the third- and fourth-hottest years on record in numbers of days above 100 degrees.  Again, that was well before everyone was driving an SUV to work, undermining the idea that mankind is causing unprecedented changes to our environment.  The evidence is scant that humans can significantly affect the climate. Proposed “remedies” would be economically devastating.  Is climate change happening? Absolutely! The climate is always changing, but mankind shouldn’t take the blame. Our advice to alarmists: Relax! The heat won’t last forever. Six months from now, we could be worried about ice on the roads.

Read more from NewsOK

Oklahoma City sales tax receipts could reflect transformative growth

Sales tax revenue in Oklahoma City keeps coming in well above projections, and a leading local economist says it could be a sign the metro is on the verge of a transformative period of growth.  If that seems out of sync with an increasingly tenuous national and worldwide recovery from recession, that’s because it is, said Russell Evans, director of Oklahoma City University’s Steven C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute. But economic growth in the metro has been so strong for so long, evidence is mounting that Oklahoma City could be in the early stages of a big economic run largely independent of moody international markets.

Read more from NewsOK at

Oklahoma Health Department Warns Of Rise In West Nile Cases

The health department says there could be a dramatic rise in the number of West Nile cases this year in Oklahoma.  There have already been two confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in Tulsa and Pittsburg Counties, but experts at Oklahoma State University say people in the metro need to aware of the biting bugs.  Mosquitos are more than a nuisance this summer. Within the last week, mosquitoes started testing positive for West Nile Virus in Oklahoma.

Read more from News9 at

Faught, Mullin spar over health care attack ad

Two Republican candidates seeking an open congressional seat in eastern Oklahoma attacked each other, rather than the president, on health care Monday, arguing over whether one of them should be held accountable for remarks made at a candidate forum last year.  A television advertisement aired by state Rep. George Faught’s campaign includes a clip of businessman Markwayne Mullin saying he supports a “single-payer, single-pay system” when it comes to medical care.  Faught’s ad suggests Mullin backs changes in the nation’s health care system pushed by President Barack Obama; Mullin said he misused the term “single-payer” and intended to say everyone should have their own stake in their care, not that it should be provided by the government.

Read more from the Associated Press at

Business viewpoint: Ruling on Affordable Care Act clears way for action

In upholding the act, the court ensured that children up to age 26 can remain on their parents’ health insurance plans and that senior citizens can continue receiving discounts on prescription drugs aimed at closing the Medicare gap known as the “doughnut hole.”  Beginning in 2014, insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage to adults with pre-existing medical conditions, or impose annual or lifetime dollar limits on coverage.  Also beginning in 2014, families with average household incomes up to approximately $90,000 will be able to purchase private insurance through state insurance markets, called “exchanges,” that allow for easy comparison of the cost and benefits under various policies.

Read more from the Tulsa World at

Upcoming Event: 2012 Oklahoma Suicide Prevention Conference

The Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will host the 2012 Oklahoma Suicide Prevention Conference next Friday, July 20th.  The event will provide participants with suicide prevention training, intervention skills, and knowledge.  Emphasis will be placed on building resources for professionals and families that address the complexity of suicide in our communities.  Participants will hear from local and national suicide prevention experts; click here for an agenda, including speaker bios and a summary of the sessions.  For more information, please contact Human Resources Development at (405) 522-8300.

Read more from the OK Policy Blog at

Quote of the Day

The nutrition crowd will go ballistic.

Oklahoma Representative Frank Lucas, on his efforts to cut $16 billion from the nation’s food stamp program, the biggest reduction in more than 15 years

Number of the Day

$37.5 billion

Total federal spending in Oklahoma, 2010

Source: Oklahoma Economic Report

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Dubious Democracy 1982-2010

Dubious Democracy 1982-2010 provides a comprehensive assessment of the level of competition and accuracy of representation in U.S. House elections in all 50 states from 1982 to 2010. It ranks each state on a “democracy index” that is a relative measurement based on average margin of victory, percentage of seats to votes, how many voters elect candidates and number of House races won by overwhelming landslides.

Read more from the Center for Voting and Democracy at

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.