Kalena Thomhave

Kalena Thomhave is a writing fellow at the Prospect.

Follow @kalenasthom

Recent Articles

Why Scott Walker’s Welfare Legacy Will Outlast Him

Although Walker was ousted from the governorship by progressive Tony Evers, the state legislature has ensured that Wisconsin will remain a model for abusing the poor.

Steve Apps/Wisconsin State Journal via AP, File Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker arrives to deliver his state of the state address at the Capitol in Madison. D emocrat Tony Evers was sworn in as the new governor of Wisconsin last week, after he bested Republican incumbent Scott Walker in November’s election. But thanks to an extraordinary session of Wisconsin’s lame-duck Republican legislature last month, Evers will likely have his hands tied if he’d like to pull back some of Walker’s most pernicious reforms, those targeting low-income people and their benefits, such as food assistance and health coverage. Preserving Walker’s welfare legacy was a priority when the state legislature met in early December. As the media widely reported, legislators quickly voted to limit the power of the newly Democratic executive branch, but the details of these post-election laws signed by Walker foretell a difficult future for public assistance programs in the state. In consequence, Wisconsin,...

Failing to Restrict Food Stamps in the Farm Bill, Trump Takes Another Route

“If at first you don’t succeed, try a less democratic option.”

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue attends a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House. T wo years into this administration, of this we can be certain: When the president doesn’t get what he wants—legislative wins in, say, immigration or health care —he will turn toward other means to ram his agenda through. Consider the case of food stamps. When the farm bill finally passed both the House and Senate last week, the final bill left out House Republicans’ work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly called food stamps), which would have endangered food assistance for millions of people. Not surprisingly, this was a favored provision for President Trump. When the House and Senate meet on the very important Farm Bill – we love our farmers - hopefully they will be able to leave the WORK REQUIREMENTS FOR FOOD STAMPS PROVISION that the House approved. Senate should go to 51 votes! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)...

Work Requirements in Farm Bill Are Off the Table

AP Photo/Seth Wenig A supermarket displays stickers indicating they accept food stamps in West New York, New Jersey. T his week, the House and Senate finally came to an agreement on the farm bill, the legislation that authorizes farm subsidies as well as nutrition programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps. While the previous bill had expired in September, lawmakers came to an impasse over whether to sharply limit food stamp eligibility. In a victory for low-income Americans, the final version contained no such provision. Passing the farm bill, generally a bipartisan endeavor, had hit roadblocks as House Republicans attempted to attach stringent work requirements to SNAP that would have threatened benefits for more than two million low-income people. The Senate version contained no such requirements. The conference committee charged with resolving the two versions released the compromise bill on Monday—and work requirements were...

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