October 6th, 2010
06:11 PM ET
12 years ago

Pelosi fires back at Gingrich over food stamps

(CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday strongly defended her party's support of the federal food stamp program - a day after former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich argued that GOP candidates should use the growing number of people on food stamps against Democrats on the campaign trail.

At a press conference in her home town of San Francisco, Pelosi explained that the program's multiplier effect –the amount of money generated in the local economy as the result of the subsidy– far exceeds the nearly $60 billion spent this year by the federal government and is a sure-fire way to stimulate the economy. For every dollar a person receives in food stamps, Pelosi said that $1.79 is put back into the economy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture cites an even higher figure of $1.84.

"It is the biggest bang for the buck when you do food stamps and unemployment insurance. The biggest bang for the buck," she said.
Gingrich on Tuesday wrote a letter critical of the Democrats' stewardship of the economy and urged all Republican candidates to shape the political debate as one "between the Democratic Party of food stamps and the Republican Party of paychecks."

"It is an unassailable fact that in June, more food stamps were distributed by the government than ever before in American history. (It turns out that Barack Obama's idea of spreading the wealth around was spreading more food stamps around.)," wrote Gingrich.

The number of Americans receiving food stamps rose to a record 41.8 million in July and approximately one in eight Americans participate in the program, according to the USDA, with the average household subsidy receiving $294 a month.

Pelosi also chastised Gingrich for a political attack she believes is rooted in class warfare.

"There is some subliminal message that is being sent out there about us and them, meaning people who need food stamps and the rest of the country, which I think is an unfortunate course to go down," said Pelosi.

Filed under: Nancy Pelosi • New York Times
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Mike Chino Hills, Ca

    Newt is just an idiot. He's one of the reasons I am no longer a Republican after 25 yrs....

    October 6, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  2. Squigman

    The Dem's may have created the food stamp, but it took a Repub, to create the need.

    October 6, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    It's way past time for Democrats to fight back. The Republicans cliam big government is wrong but have campaigned all over the country on how they will be the ones to bring back jobs. Since they don;t plan on using the government to supply these jobs, they shouldn't part of the government. As Governors- Congress people or other elected officials- ANYTHING they do in those jobs is government involvment.
    Why not go into the private sector, raise all that money they are spending on campaigns and open businesses? Why? becuase they aren capable of doing so. they have no plan for jobs except driving up the deficit with tax cuts for businesses,

    October 6, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  4. Mary

    This woman is SO clueless it isn't funny!
    Did she ever consider self sufficiency is the goal...what a Maroon!

    October 6, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  5. borntolove

    The food stamp program is a important thing in America. It helps ensure a healthy meal get puts on the table... it also greatly contributes to the economy. If they really think stopping it will do anything for this country you are wrong- yes it cost money, but so does the military, so does police... so does alot of things... but the impacts outweighs the cost!

    In fact the government wasting money is good for the economy- as long as it is not borrowed. but if the government has higher taxes it takes in more money, meaning less is being saved- and while savings helps the economy to, spending money makes the economy grow. Hence why we grew during WW1, and WW2, even the Civil War we grew. We grew in the 50's during our nations push to become more modern. It is actually the simplest form of economics... and the ones who say- cut government spending... well no, stop borrowing for government spending- instead raise taxes... it will eventually make wages go up, meaning more investment... why do you think the nation did not grow the whole time we had the bush tax cuts?

    October 6, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    For every dollar a person receives in food stamps, Pelosi said that $1.79 is put back into the economy.
    Nancynomics. So if instead of spending $1 trillion on all that stuff that didn't create many jobs, we should have given out $1 trillion of food stamps and our economy would be in much better shape with nobody actually having to work. Nancyomics.

    October 6, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  7. Peter s

    Mr. Gingrich lets stop being hypocritical here while inner city poor people go for food stamps! what about the agricultural subsidies which were put in place in the 1930s during the Great Depression, when 25 percent of Americans lived on farms. And at that time the ex-Secretary of Agriculture "Henry Wallace "called them "a temporary solution to deal with an emergency." Sir, those programs are still in place today, even though less than 1 percent of Americans currently live on farms that are larger, more efficient, and more productive than ever before. Mr. Gingrich can you please address both issues! without picking on the poor minorities who live in the inner cities. Consider these facts. Ninety percent of all subsidies go to just five crops: corn, rice, cotton, wheat, and soybeans. Two thirds of all farm products—including perishable fruits and vegetables—receive almost no subsidies. And just 10 percent of recipients receive 75 percent of all subsidies. A program intended to be a “temporary solution” has become one of our government’s most glaring examples of corporate welfare SIR, is that not true???

    October 6, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  8. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Its no surprise that the so-called-Christians in the GOP-Tea would prefer to keep the poor or unemployed from eating to save a few dollars!

    October 6, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  9. Bill from GA

    Considering that repugs have blocked every job-creating bill in Congress since they got their 41st Senate seat, food stamps are the last hope for many Americans. Maybe Congress could give back their pay hike from the last 2 or 3 years to help fund the food stamp program.

    And hey, CNN, is that the ugliest shot you got of Pelosi?? She looks like she is ready to tear Newt apart.

    October 6, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  10. richard

    the food stamp program is a fail and needs to be scaled back. nobody will suffer nancy if anything it might be a blessing. nancy go down to the supermarkets and see the people w/ the food carts piled high to the ceiling and the mothers w/ the extremely overwieght kids in tow from all the sugar , growth- hormone laced food. the illegals who live 5 in a household each w/ a ebt card while working. NO ABLE BODIED MAN should get food stamps he should have to do some type of comm work or service -- 30 hrs for his daily bread or lets go to "farmers markets" and back to commodities butter, sugar, powered milk canned meat etc. whats so cruel about this cost saving measure? or how about the scandalous foriegn aid money that most of it is unaccounted for and a sham....... aid money in the front door and it goes right out the back, or isreal who is building settlements w/ american foriegn aid money they get just to behave. the tea party sadly has a point but you people are all in the same boat you are all phony. this gov't insults the peoples intellegence and here come the backlash, the cuts thats on the way should be that everyone has to pay the price. and the pentagon; well everyone has lined their pockets and gotten rich, and now its time to retire what a disgrace..........

    October 6, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |

    Im belived that Gingrich are alright so pelosi can't fire back to him cause food stamp have problems fraud change money for buy drugs

    October 6, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  12. Marcus

    If the food stamps were no longer necessary to help AMERICANS then the whole idea should (and most likely would) be ended as it was in the first time the food stamps appeared (between 1939 and 1943).
    But given that 40 million Americans NEED the stamps, the mere idea of ending the program is more than just political suicide...

    October 6, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  13. Tinkers Dam

    .............."For every dollar a person receives in food stamps, Pelosi said that $1.79 is put back into the economy"
    ........." a sure-fire way to stimulate the economy"............."It is the biggest bang for the buck when you do food stamps and unemployment insurance. The biggest bang for the buck,"

    We can end the recession now. The whole country needs to go on food stamps. We can put this idiots words to the test.

    October 6, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  14. Tinkers Dam

    .....And make all recipients take drug tests. No pass.....No Food Stamps.

    October 6, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  15. George of the jungle

    Get him Nancy. People don't like you but you are one smart dame. The repos ave no new ideas and are getting desperate. Gingrich like palin are all wanna bee's Vote no to all the repos

    October 6, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  16. D. Bunker

    Wow! The GOBP is really moving even further to the extreme right if they're attacking food stamps now. We can pretty much forget about any pretend notions that "compassionate" conservativism exists now (if it ever did). These people would deny an old person a cane if the government was paying for it. Why isn't Newt mentioning corporate welfare?

    One clue for voters: If Newt endorses someone, vote against them. Newt represents much of what is wrong with today's GOBP and the teatards that worship in the same cult of disproven ideas. Newt was, and remains, part of the trainwreck that tanked America's economy. Listening to Newt is like getting leadership and navigation lessons from the captain of the Titanic. If you liked the ditch America landed in recently, then just hire Newt and his friends as your drivers. They're aiming for a canyon now!

    October 6, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  17. Tony

    She's not really that dumb is she? First she says that unemployment is a great economic stimulator, now welfare?! Wow, how dumb is this woman really?

    October 6, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  18. Paul Ernest Show

    The speaker needs not fire back at Newt Gingrich. He is a washed out politicians who is "searching in the dark" to find issues he can revive to return to politics. Is he not the same Newt that attended a value summit weeks ago and attempted to teach us about values he and his GOP friends cannot live up to? Seeing both white, black and other ethnic families go broke and unable to feed themselves, could complain or try to politicize it but a true bigot like Newt. I have seen white, upper class men and women pawning their valuables to raise money, giving up their car titles for money,and yet this man feels food stamps is an issue he can employ to divide America. Men loosing their mansions, unable to rent apartments and living in the woods and Newt wants to put a negative spin on people resorting to their last choice of living on food stamps. Where is this man living? I am overwhelmed by the suffering and pain I witness everyday, that I cannot help but call Newt an idiot.

    October 6, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    Gingrich is the ultimate ambulance chaser, putting any lawyer to shame. I recall some years ago, after a horrific murder in which a fetus was cut out of a woman's body, Gingrich rushed to the cameras to declare that this was emblamatic of liberal values. Only a completely sick, opportunistic SOB would ever make that kind of a declaration. Gingrich will seize upon any piece of data and prove that data is not objective. His tenure as Speaker led to much of the de-regulation mania that swept the country in the 90s and during the Bush years, a period when his proteges controlled the House and the Senate. As usual, he neglects to mention his own role in the gutting of federal oversight that led to a doubling of unemployment since the end of his reign of error. How was it ended? It was ended by a series of pathetic failures in three areas: leadership( could not stop Bill Paxon, Tom DeLay and Dick Armey from plottng to remove him; personal ( largest ethics fine ever levied on a sitting Speaker); and marital( his cheating on his second wife while pushing for Clinton's impeachment). As someone who is trained as a historian, he should know to go where the evidence leads you, not to come to a conclusion first and cobble together facts to suit the conclusion. He is intellectually weak, lazy, and a moral pauper. He is also a hypocrite, since he was raised on an Army base and received government healthcare, yet turned around and received multiple draft deferrments.

    October 6, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  20. Alan

    I guess Gingrich would prefer to "let them eat cake". Good lord, for some elements of the right, it really seems to be a race to the bottom. I'm all for trying to get people to work for food, but what about the innocent children of parents who are out of work, does Gingrich suggest that we let them go hungry? Maybe then they will pull their deadbeat parents up by their bootstraps? Come on now. And what short memory he has. As I recall the recession started under a Republican president, but now it's the Democrats' mismanagement of the economy that's at fault?

    October 6, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  21. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Nancy is my Congressperson in San Francisco and I can tell you two things. On November 3rd she'll still be my Congressperson and she'll still be Speaker of the House.

    October 6, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  22. quincy of nashville

    What would one expect from that bloviating, bigoted neandertal? Nothing is sacred with him. Be careful- you will be next.

    October 6, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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