LISTEN: A new farm bill, fresh out of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, could force over two million people off the program. Vox's Tara Golshan explains why Republicans want to put SNAP recipients to work, and Stacy Dean from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities talks about the program's bipartisan past.
"As director of one of the area's large food pantries, we see families struggle to make ends meet. Many are working two or more jobs and still can't make their resources last through the month. Instead of proposing to punish the poor and reduce access to nutritious food, Congress should focus on creating policies to end hunger and lift people out of poverty." Henri Etta Fletcher-Lockhart, Director, Akron Bible Church Baskets of Love
Current law requires able-bodied adulst between 18 and 49 with no dependents to work at least 20 hours per week or receive an equivalent amount of job training to qualify for [SNAP] benefits. The new GOP-pushed measure would change that age range to 18 to 59. It also would impose the work requirements on those with children over age six. Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, said the new requirements include 'some of the most punitive provisions I've ever seen in 30 years of doing this work.'
"Let me be clear," said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt. "The current bill as it stands will increase hunger and contribute to escalating health care costs instead of maintaining our country's long-term commitment to providing hunger relief and working to prevent hunger and food insecurity."
"Taking food stamps away from people already living on the margins has led to increased demand on our charitable hunger relief network, rather than increased access to work. Taking Medicaid away by imposing similar work requirements will undoubtedly lead to poorer health outcomes."
"Make no mistake: cutting spending on a nutrition program that keeps kids, people with disabilities, low-wage workers and older adults from going hungry is bad governing."