Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) introduced a bill on Thursday that would streamline the food stamp program (officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) to save taxpayers $30 billion over 10 years.
“Since President Obama came into office, SNAP participation has increased at 10 times the rate of job creation, the annual spending on SNAP has doubled, and one in seven Americans now participates in SNAP,” said Thune. “This explosive growth in both the SNAP enrollment and federal cost of the program is alarming and requires lawmakers to take cost-effective legislative control measures.”
The SSNAP (Streamlining the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Act addresses skyrocketing food stamp enrollments through a series of provisions, including: imposing a penalty on states that engage in improper SNAP payments for three consecutive years and limiting “categorical eligibility” which automatically enrolls an individual in the food stamp program if they qualify for other welfare programs.
In the recent “Boomtown 2: The Business of Food Stamps” Fox News special, Government Accountability Institute President and Co-Founder Peter Schweizer and Breitbart News Executive Chairman and GAI Co-Founder Stephen K. Bannon reported that categorical eligibility has driven up food stamp enrollments dramatically in the last several years. Today, 47,772,108 individuals receive food stamp benefits.
Thune and Stutzman’s bill also strips away so-called “gold star” state performance bonuses for reducing program error rates. “States don’t need a ‘gold star’ in order to have efficient programs,” say the lawmakers. Over ten years, this provision would save an estimated $480 million.
SSNAP would also strengthen applicant re-enrollment requirements and close a loophole that allows states to send small $1 to $5 checks to boost SNAP benefit payments for a savings of $13.4 billion over ten years.
“By closing loopholes, cutting waste, and eliminating fraud and abuse in SNAP, we save taxpayers $30 billion and make sure that families in need still receive a helping hand,” said Stutzman.