House Republicans on Wednesday pushed forward with their plan to strengthen work requirements for food stamp recipients under the 2018 Farm Bill.
The proposal, introduced last week as part of the farm bill and marked up Wednesday despite objections from Democrats, would dramatically expand workforce job-training programs and require most adults ages 18 to 59 who enroll in food stamps to work, enroll in job training, or look for work under the supervision of a case manager.
Rachel Millard, a spokesperson for the House Agriculture Committee, told Breitbart News that the legislation would specifically strengthen “job training” and “case management” programs at the state level.
The programs would target people who might have special circumstances that could keep them from obtaining employment—including veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mothers with children, Millard said.
The House Agriculture spokesperson added that $90 million of the 2018 Farm Bill would go towards employment and training.
A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis found that the enhanced work requirements would cut enrollment in SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which administers food stamps, by one million people and save the federal government $20 billion over ten years.
House Agriculture Committee chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) told Breitbart News Sunday this week that the reforms to SNAP would help Americans provide for their families while maintaining the integrity of the program—which makes up 80 percent of the Farm Bill spending.
“This is an effort to reform the SNAP program. Our food stamps and SNAP program is really important, we spend a lot of money on it, and we need to make it as good as we can for the beneficiaries,” he said.
House Democrats, however, blasted the work requirement provision for being “unworkable” in combating poverty.
“This bill attempts to change SNAP from a feeding program to a work program,” said Rep. Collin Peterson (MN), the ranking Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, who came out against the work requirements.
“The bill rejects the testimony of 89 witnesses, and instead includes ideological language that will force people off of SNAP to pay for massive state bureaucracies that won’t work and are a waste of money. This legislation is based on false perceptions and ignores reality,” Peterson said.
Millard, however, said there is some evidence that work can keep people out of poverty.
“Ninety-seven percent of people employed are not in poverty,” she said.
Breitbart News reported Sunday that the most recent United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data showed a decline of 587,792 in SNAP participation between December 2017 and January 2018.