[The amendment] would prohibit convicted murderers, rapists, and pedophiles from receiving food stamps. Under current law, there is a lifetime ban for convicted drug felons, though many states have opted out of or modified that ban. Vitter’s amendment would extend the lifetime food stamp ban to dangerous sex offenders and murderers.Pedophile is such a funny word. People use it to mean many things, but its meaning is quite specific. Pedophilia is a psychological diagnosis. Does this amendment propose to look at the mental health records of those who apply for food stamps to weed out those with a pedophilia diagnosis? HIPAA prevents that if that is what Vitter intends. Of course he doesn't mean pedophile in its true sense; he uses the word to mean registered sex offenders, whether they are pedophiles or not:
(1) IN GENERAL.—An individual shall not be eligible for benefits under this Act if the
individual is convicted of—
(A) aggravated sexual abuse under section 2241 of title 18, United States Code;
(B) murder under section 1111 of title 18, United States Code;
(C) an offense under chapter 110 of title 18, United States Code;
(D) a Federal or State offense involving sexual assault, as defined in 40002(a) of theViolence Against Women Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 13925(a)); or
(E) an offense under State law determined by the Attorney General to be substantially
similar to an offense described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C).
Put a man in prison, watch him do his time, make it very, very difficult for him to find employment, and then take away federal assistance available to other citizens. Not only that, but the families of "murderers, rapists, and pedophiles" would be made ineligible for food stamps, too:
(2) EFFECTS ON ASSISTANCE AND BENEFITS FOR OTHERS.—The amount of benefits otherwise required to be provided to an eligible household under this Act shall be determined by considering the individual to whom paragraph (1) applies not to be a member of such household, except that the income and resources of the individual shall be consideredThe best way to help former offenders isn't the food stamp program; the best way would be to make it easier for former offenders to find employment. Eliminating the sex offender registries would be a giant step forward toward that goal. Tell that to your Senator.
to be income and resources of the household.
You'd think if any Senator would be sympathetic to those on the sex offender registry, it would be Senator Vitter himself since he knows what it feels like to be publicly humiliated because of sexual matters. Vitter's name appeared on a list of clients of the DC Madam in 2009. He apologized, charges were never brought against him, and he went on his merry way to torment those more unlucky than he was.
Vitter isn't the only despicable Senator, though. His amendment passed the Senate today. Unanimously.