Ignoring Raising Student Loan Rates & SNAP, Paulsen Distorts Honey Bee Bill

Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03), a.k.a. the “Math Guy”, used this week’s Erik’s Correspondence Corner, to answers a question sent in from Suzanne in Chaska regarding Congress’s efforts to rein in government regulations as well as a question from Tony in Bloomington on the alarming rate of decline in U.S. honey bee populations.

Hmmm … no mention of that the House approved legislation this week to increase in student loan interests rates ?
But heck, the “Math Guy” knows what his vote did to students.
Since July, 2011, the rate on Stafford Loans was 3.4% until it expired this year. Now, under the Paulsen-approved legislation, student loans will be based on the 10-year US Treasury rate plus a handling fee. The handling fee is 2.05% for Stafford loans and 3.6% for graduate student loans (WHY Representative Paulsen wanted a higher fees for students to get advanced degrees is curious as those are the jobs that will generate the products/services of the future.) US Treasury rates vary … on Thursday it hit 2.70%, and was 2.74% Friday morning. Thus, it doesn’t take a “Math Guy” to realize that 4.75% undergraduate loan is higher than the 3.4% rate.
Yep, don’t mention Student Loans.

The other issue that has languished in the House is the future of SNAP … aka Food Stamps. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a program for low-income households that must meet SNAP eligibility requirements to receive a payment card that can only be used to buy government-approved essential foods. The House Agriculture Committee advanced a bill that cut the SNAP program by $20.5 Billion … yes, $20.5 Billion. That was not good enough for Representative Paulsen as he voted for Amendment #101 which raised the total reduction in spending to $31 billion. That Ag bill failed but now the word is that the House is considering a new bill that would cut spending by $40 Billion. Kristi Noem (R-SD) who is writing the bill said making cuts to the program is a “huge culture change” not only for Democrats but also for some Republicans who have a lot of food stamp recipients in their districts.
Which leads to the question of how many constituents of Representative Paulsen participate in the SNAP program ?
Well, who is unknown, but the Third District includes Hennepin, Anoka and Carver counties. The 2011 data reveals that 160,208 benefited (Hennepin 129,961, Anoka 26,879, Carver 3,368).
Thus, it doesn’t take a “Math Guy” to realize that given a choice, you may not want to feature proposed cuts to so many of your constituents on your weekly chat.

No instead, Representative Paulsen talks about regulations and honey bees.

Representative Paulsen gives a reassuring answer to both questioners … but does not connect the two … and actually is disingenuous.

Yes, it is true that Representative Paulsen did FOR Amendment #14 to promotes the long-term viability of honey bee, wild bees, and other beneficial insects in agriculture as part of H.R. 1947 Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act … but fails to mention that the amendment was not favored by a vast majority of Republicans (81 including Representative Paulsen were in favor but 149 opposed). Even though the amendment was approved (thanks to all Democrats voting in the affirmative), the overall bill was defeated. Thus Representative Paulsen implies to Tony of Bloomington that honey bees will be addressed by Congress is really uncertain.

What is interesting is that in the honey bee amendment is a call for more government regulations and the establishment of Task Force on Bee Health and Commercial Beekeeping including the involvement of six agencies: the Department of Agriculture; the Department of the Interior; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Food and Drug Administration; the Department of Commerce; and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Gosh, so Representative Paulsen suggests Congress must to rein in government regulations … and promotes more government involvement in regulating bees ?

Let’s not call Representative Paulsen as part of the Do-Nothing Congress, after all, he is in favor of higher rates for students; cuts to food stamps; and protector of honey bees … remember that when you see him during the next five weeks as the House is not in session.

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