In an effort to restore the integrity of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3) voted in favor of the Nutritional Reform and Work Opportunity Act, which include program reforms that will save taxpayers roughly $40 billion over the next decade.
The measure, which decouples SNAP from the agriculture and conservation programs of the Farm Bill where it would account for 80% of all spending, ensures able-bodied adult recipients are working or enrolled in training programs and that needy children, seniors and the disabled are assisted. The measure also reins in categorical eligibility, a process by which a recipient of benefits from an unrelated government program automatically qualifies for SNAP.
“This program was intended to be a food safety net for needy children, seniors and the disabled; however, the president has loosened access to the benefit programs by waiving bi-partisan work requirements that has resulted in a 164 percent increase in enrollment over a very short period of time that cannot be sustained,” Luetkemeyer said. “This costs taxpayers $80 billion a year, meaning middle class families who are struggling to make ends meet are footing the bill for a program that has gone well beyond its original intent.”
Congress first paired federal commodity programs with federal nutrition programs back in the 1970s to ensure urban and rural lawmakers would come together and pass the Farm Bill every five years. However, the rapid growth in the SNAP program has changed the dynamics of having the nutrition provisions in the Farm Bill.
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