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Exclusive–Michael Conaway: ‘Making the Case’ for Food Stamp Work Requirements

Work for Food stamps
Yoon S. Byun/Boston Globe/Getty Images

House Agriculture Chairman Michael Conaway (R-TX) told Breitbart News in an exclusive statement on Friday that he plans to make the case to ensure that work requirements for food stamps make it in the final farm bill.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said this week that the final Farm bill will likely not have work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps.

The House passed its Farm bill in June, containing work requirements for food stamps, while the Senate bill does not have food stamp work requirements. Now the two chambers of Congress have to reconcile the differences in a conference committee.

Conaway’s bill would require roughly 8.8 percent of food stamp recipients, or four million Americans, to spend roughly 80 hours per month working, looking for work, or obtaining job training to continue receiving SNAP benefits.

Chairman Conway, who wrote the House Farm bill, told Breitbart News about how he plans to fight to include food stamp work requirements in the final Farm bill.

“I’ve said from the beginning that I’m not naïve enough to believe that the bill that passed the House is what will be approved by the Senate, but I also know that there is a good case to be made about how we will improve lives and outcomes by taking a good look at what we’re trying to do in the House bill,” Conaway explained. “I’m looking forward to making the case for how we can get people back to work in conference committee.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan backed the idea of work requirements for food stamps on Thursday, saying:

There are more than 12 million able-bodied Americans who do NOT have small kids at home, are NOT in school, and are NOT working or looking for work. A mild work/school requirement of 20-hours/week to receive government assistance is as reasonable and common sense as it gets.

When reporters told House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) in June that the Senate Farm bill will not include work requirements for SNAP, Meadows sarcastically responded, “I’m shocked.”

Conaway told Breitbart News Sunday in April how work requirements “is an opportunity to help people who want to help themselves.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) called for work requirements to be in the final Farm bill in a statement to Breitbart News on Thursday.

“If you’re an able-bodied adult, you should have to work to receive taxpayer money,” Jordan said in a statement to Breitbart News. “It will help get people out of welfare, off of the cycle of dependency, and to a better position in life. Welfare reform needs to stay in the final Farm Bill.”

Robert Doar, a poverty scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), wrote an op-ed in June that work requirements for food stamps will help “fight poverty at its roots.”

Congressman Warren Davidson (R-OH) told Breitbart News in an interview on Thursday, “I hope the president makes it clear that he’s not going to sign a [Farm] bill that does not include work requirements.”

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