Soledad O'Brien grilled Sen. Jeff Sessions over his efforts to cut the federal food stamps program on Tuesday's "Starting Point."
Earlier this year, Sessions proposed removing $11 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. He advocated cuts on Tuesday, arguing that food stamp spending has gone up even though unemployment is currently on the decline.
O'Brien seemed skeptical. "There are people who'd say if you're doing cuts, you invariably hurt people who need food and people who need food stamps to buy supplemental food," she said.
Sessions argued that the program has been "growing out of control" and "there are a lot of people receiving benefits who do not qualify and should not receive them." O'Brien said that Sessions himself voted to expand the program in 2002 and 2008, and cited research that found the program has a low rate of fraud.
Later, she said, "When you’re thinking of things to cut, people basically say, why are you trying to balance the budget on people making less than $23,000 a year... So why not cut something else? There are other things that could be on the table before you pick a program that is feeding the nation’s poor children."
Sessions said that he was not picking on solely the food stamp program. "I say all programs need to be examined in this government," he responded. "This government is wasting money every day."