States Make It Clear: No to Changes in SNAP Funding

The 2019 Farm Bill includes drastic changes to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funding, including additional cumbersome work requirements that could eliminate millions of Americans from eligibility in the program. SNAP benefits are a lifeline for the more than 40 million Americans who rely on the program to put food on the table. It’s time for Republicans to come to the table and work with Democrats on a bipartisan bill that serves farmers, communities, and consumers. Let’s see what states are saying about these proposed changes…


Maine Governor Paul LePage experimented with expansive work requirements – and Mainers suffered as a result:


Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: “Two reports this year, citing data from Kansas and Maine, have touted the alleged success of reimposing a three-month time limit on SNAP participation for childless adults… A careful look at the data presented in the reports, taking these factors into account, strongly suggests that not much changed related to work and earnings when the time limit took effect, but the time limit did cause thousands of the states’ poorest residents to lose essential SNAP benefits.”


That’s why this Maine Editorial board, having witnessed the detrimental effects of work requirements, warns against a similar nationwide system:


Central Maine Editorial Board: “In this experiment, Gov. Paul LePage took from tens of thousands of poor residents benefits from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, more commonly known as SNAP or food stamps, under the idea that it would force those residents to find work and thus remove themselves from government dependency. Not many got jobs they wouldn’t have eventually found otherwise, and most of those who did find work likely still qualified for assistance. Meanwhile, hunger in Maine got worse, even as it improved most everywhere else. In short, it’s been a disaster for the poorest Mainers. Still, House Republicans want to take this experiment nationwide.”


Texas is the home of House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conway, who helped write the 2019 Farm Bill. Surely Texans like these changes?


Texas Observer: “Proposed Changes to SNAP in the Farm Bill Could Leave Rural Texans Hungry.”


Houston Chronicle Editorial: “By the time the Farm Bill — a massive omnibus package passed every five years — makes it to President Donald Trump’s desk, Congress must restore these cuts to SNAP.”


What about Kentucky, where 640,000 residents use SNAP to fray grocery costs? Nope!  


Lexington Herald-Leader Editorial: “But it does impose harsh new requirements to receive food stamps. Failing to meet new monthly paperwork deadlines could result in a three-year lockout from nutrition aid. Work requirements would be expanded to more people, including parents of school-age children, while the new rules would drive up administrative costs.


Iowa farmers are among the nation’s largest producers of corn, soybeans, eggs and pork. Maybe they like the idea of limiting consumers’ ability to purchase their products?


Cedar Rapids Gazette Editorial: “The USDA estimates that every dollar of SNAP benefits results in $1.80 of total economic activity. Yet proposed policy changes not only endanger these benefits for an estimated 16,000 Iowans, many of them school-aged children, but mandate our already cash-strapped state to develop new and largely unnecessary administrative frameworks.”


Maybe this bill has fans in New York….?


Local SYR: “Food Bank of Central New York opposes proposed SNAP changes”


Times Herald-Record Editorial: “More accurately, you should see this not as a fight between parties but as one between Faso and the farmers of the Hudson Valley, who are ill-served by the proposed legislation. And you certainly could see it as a conflict between Faso and people who rely on the SNAP program here and in the rest of the nation. Faso will never see it that way. He never does. On nutrition or taxes or health care or guns, he sees things the way his party leaders in Washington do. They let him off the hook for a few votes that don’t matter, but he generally goes along. In this case, he is going along in ways that hurt many of the people the bill is supposed to help.”