1. The House votes for a 5 percent cut in food stamps, after GOP conservatives argued the program has become bloated and needs reform. Some partial statements from local GOPers below:
From Keith Rothfus:
"Our food stamp and nutrition programs will continue to provide a critical safety net for individuals and families who need it most. The reforms the House passed today provide assistance for Americans in need and are designed to empower and lift them out of poverty," said Rothfus. "Today's legislation takes important steps toward helping people get off of federal assistance and into employment by requiring States to enforce existing food stamp eligibility rules that require able-bodied adults to work or enter job training. The legislation also increases funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), an important program for Pennsylvania's food banks."
And Tim Murphy:
"In a time of diminishing federal resources, the legislation advances important reforms to ensure those most needing assistance receive it while encouraging able-bodied childless adults who can work to find employment or volunteer in their community. The bill also prevents lotto winners and persons with hidden assets from taking advantage of a program established to help families, and, in particular, children in need," continued Murphy.
2. The US Postal Service is also in need of reform, and maybe a sizable rate increase to survive.
3. Let's just go with Rich Lord's full lede: Decrying "steep price tags and an increasing number of contracts" at the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley this week asked federal overseers to provide him with documentation of the agency's salaries, consulting arrangements and travel expenses.
4. From Pitt's UCSUR: For the first time since at least 1950, the percentage of Pittsburghers age 65 and over is LOWER than the national level.
5. With Pirate fever reaching the boiling point, Jolly Roger flags are selling out all over the city.