House Republicans have begun the process of determining ways to make cuts in the $74 billion food stamp program, which has grown by 45 percent since President Obama assumed office.
The House Agriculture Committee, which oversees what is now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, kicked off a series of hearings on the issue even though caseloads actually plummeted by 11 percent in 2014 as the nation’s economy improved.
“SNAP has grown from a relatively small pilot program to the second largest federal welfare program, quadrupling in spending since 2001,” said Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), the committee chairman. “Everyone from recipients to taxpayers deserves an efficient program with a clearly defined mission.”
The program, Conaway asserted, has remained largely unchanged over the past 30 years despite “significant changes in the nation’s economy and the socioeconomic makeup of the American population,” leading to what GOP lawmakers maintain is a necessary review.
“We can all agree that no one ought to go hungry in America, and SNAP is essential in protecting the most vulnerable citizens during tough times,” Conaway said. “For many it is a vital lifeline to keeping food on the table. What we don’t want is for this program to hold people back from achieving their potential.”
There exists a role for SNAP, Conaway said, “but we need to have a complete and clear understanding of its mission and purpose.”
Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), the ranking member, expressed no objections to the SNAP review but added, “I don’t think we should do anything,” noting that the issue received a thorough discussion during the most recent negotiations over the farm bill where an agreement was reached.
Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told the committee that SNAP has played a key role over the years in eliminating hunger and malnutrition and warned against wholesale change.
“I hope the committee will keep in mind the accomplishments the program has made and proceed with appropriate caution,” Greenstein said. “The well-being of millions of vulnerable Americans is at stake.”
“I don’t think we should do anything,” OMG, what a typical liberal who doesn't want to lose his voting base. Yes, bring back the work program and time limits. Mandate birth control pills as well. No stamps to pay for liquor or cigarettes, either. Take some of the money saved to monitor these actions strictly.
How about getting rid of it, totally? Like the irs, the epa, the doe, et al. THAT would save a lot of money.
But not really I do believe it should be restrictive to just food items. Why should they be able to eat lobster steak and all the pricey items when most of America? Why should they be able to buy tobacco products on my dime,?
That's right, Harry. Why should they when we can't even take care of ourselves because the government creeps are stealing our money and giving it to them? This type of thing used to be taken care of privately, but it's been centralized and governmentized (new word). I can't even go to the dentist because they've driven prices up deliberately to keep real American citizens from prospering. I hope they burn in hell.
I am a compassionate person and try to help my fellow man so I wouldn't wont to see the foodstamp program stopped altogether as there are many poor folks who would perish if not for the program.Years ago when the welfare system had begun there were many items a person on welfare couldn't get.Some of those items were soap,toliet tissue or household cleaning items.Only grocery items which a lot was restricted.Now you can use them for almost anything.I would however restrict those ladies who spread the enterance of the golden gate and have one child after another and put them on welfare.There should be limits on how many children a woman can have and still draw welfare.I could go on all day and night but I will stop here.
Charles, I am all for compassion. However in this case I have two responses to think about. First, why is the FEDERAL government being "compassionate"? The answer is, they aren't being compassionate. There is something in it for them. They have a huge pool of money, and they skim it and keep a portion in DC. Considering how much money is spent each year on entitlements, even a two percent skim is a LOT of money by all accounts. Essentially, they are being "compassionate" with your money, and keeping some of it for themselves. Secondly, there is no reason these programs cannot be run at the local level. At the local level, these kinds of programs can be run far more intelligently and efficiently than when they are run by an empty suit inside the beltway.
Put ID photos on the card to prevent criminals from stealing cards, no lottery use, no alcohol use, no cigarette use, no clothing use, card should be used for food purchases only. Violator's are taken off program for one year.
So they purchase the food, then go outside and sell it, go back in and buy alcohol and tobacco. Freeloaders always find a way to get around the rules. The only solution is to get government out of the charity business.
Anthony, you're spot on with that. That is the exact reason I would advocate for a work program. If someone is on welfare for over 180 days, they would be required to do a few things.
1. Report to a doctor employed by the county (welfare should be no more than a county level program, and receive no federal or state funding). The doctor will assess what they are medically capable of. Regular doctor's visits would be required in order to continue receiving assistance.
2. Based on the doctor's prognosis, they would be assigned a task or tasks designed to defray costs to the county.
3. Recipients of welfare would be required to apply for, at minimum, 1 job per each working day. That shakes out to five days per week. We can give them major holidays off.
I think once the free ride is gone and they have to work, the free loaders will become much less interested in free loading. Additionally, once localities cease receiving federal and state funding, the programs themselves will quickly become much less lavish than they are in their current state. Additionally, the feds would lose their power over localities when they stop "giving" them money. Of course in the current state the feds are giving states and localities OUR money, but they do so with strings attached, giving them a form of control over the recipients of the funds.
The knee jerk reaction is to completely get rid of it. But, there are people that would have a terrible time without it, The knee jerk reaction is somewhat justified. I was returning a new coffee pot that had been purchased for me as a gift to a Walmart. I was in line behind a well dressed woman who was returning a whole basket full of food items. I noticed because it included meat and other refrigerated items. I could not come up with a reason why she might be doing it. Then there was a sub total and cash came out of the register and into the woman's hand. Then I knew what was up. I probably should have said something. But, I just did not. The odds were that I would have been the one who ended up in trouble.
The best way to get children of able bodied people off of it would be to feed the kids at school. Yes, year round three squares. Mom and dad would have to fend for themselves.
We have a country full of charitable organizations, we need a government to protect and serve the majority, not a select few !