February 19, 2020

Food Stamp (SNAP) Issues

Categories: Farm Bill

AP writer Mary Clare Jalonick reported last week that, “A key House Republican is renewing a GOP push to allow drug tests for low-income food stamp recipients, a move to help states like Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker has sued the federal government to permit screening.

“Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt unveiled the measure on Thursday as Republicans look to find savings in the program. Aderholt says that states could choose whether they wanted to allow drug testing, so the legislation wouldn’t be a mandate. He says it’s common sense to create drug programs for those who need help.”

The AP article added that, “The food stamp program, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, served more than 46 million Americans and cost $74 billion last year. That’s twice the program’s 2008 cost.”  (See related Bloomberg chart).

Ms. Jalonick noted that, “Though he has not weighed in on Aderholt’s legislation, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has long said he wants to overhaul the food stamp program, along with other federal assistance for the poor. He has in the past proposed budgets that would convert federal food stamp dollars into block grants for the states, a move that would cut spending for the program.

“Aderholt says he hopes his legislation is a first step in a larger GOP effort to overhaul the food stamp program.”

Recall that nutrition programs account for the majority of Farm Bill expenditures.

Keith Good