A Requiem for Serious Food Stamp Reform

National News
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The 2018 Farm Bill died a strange death.  It was due to a bizarre combinations of “strange bedfellows” — some of the most conservative members of the House of Representatives and the entire caucus of Democrats.  Conservative Republicans killed it because they wanted the measure linked to a bill to curtail illegal immigration.  Democrats voted against it because it required people to work to get their Food Stamps (SNAP).  Making able body people work in order to eat is a hallmark of conservative public policy.  There has been few things that has done more harm to more people, than a welfare system that allows people to get something for nothing.  That is the epitome of “entitlement.”  It has created huge numbers of people who believe they cannot work or, even worse, do not have to work.

This measure gave the US the opportunity to make millions of Americans to think twice about how they would get paid.  There’s no doubt, most people would prefer to get real work rather than take make work in order to get benefits.  That was the entire point to this creative legislation.

The conservatives who voted against this should have chosen another piece of legislation for such a protest.

Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R-LA) weighed in on the now failed bill a few weeks ago, praising the new work requirements for able-bodied adult SNAP beneficiaries that are outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill, which was introduced back on April 12 and was voted down last week.

According to Abraham, “The new Farm Bill will close loopholes and eliminate outdated eligibility requirements that create disincentives to work in the current SNAP program, sometimes referred to as food stamps. New work requirements will be streamlined and simplified and paired with meaningful investments in workforce training.

“The new system will require 20 hours per week of participation in – or a combination of – work, a work program and/or SNAP employment and training for work-capable adults ages 18-59. Anyone receiving SNAP and subject to the work requirement is guaranteed a spot in a SNAP employment training program (SNAP E&T).

“’SNAP provides an important safety net for many Americans, but I want it to be an on-ramp to success, not a lifestyle for work-capable adults. The new Farm Bill makes reasonable and streamlined changes to eligibility requirements that will result in more adults who are ready for the workforce. These changes will help people break out of the cycle of poverty and climb the economic ladder,’ said Dr. Abraham, Louisiana’s only representative on the House Agriculture Committee.”

Exemptions to the work requirements would have been made for caretakers of children under age six, pregnant women, and those who are mentally or physically disabled. SNAP eligibility also would not change for children, seniors or the disabled. Those who are working and receiving SNAP will still be allowed to continue their path.

Another timely reform is that sates would have to meet the minimum services requirement and provide SNAP E&T services to all non-exempt SNAP participants subject to the work requirement. Each state would have been subject to warnings, suspensions and disallowance of administrative funds for failing to meet the requirements. A state’s inability to offer a spot in SNAP E&T would not not compromise an individual’s eligibility.

Work builds character.  This kind of work would many (if not most) look for different jobs.  That would be excellent for everyone — taxpayers, the recipients, small business looking for employees, etc.  This is another opportunity that the GOP lost to support serious economic reforms for the betterment of those who have been on welfare, in many cases, for years.

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