Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) raged over requiring welfare applicants to fill out multiple forms during a House Oversight hearing on Thursday and questioned the impact the practice has on eligibility.
During a Q&A session for the hearing titled “A Threat to America’s Children: The Trump Administration’s Proposed Changes to Broad Based Categorical Eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” Porter attempted to grill Sam Adolphsen, the policy director for the Foundation for Government Accountability, over the forms welfare recipients are required to fill out to apply for assistance.
Porter began by asking Adolphsen about his general bills — electric, sewer, etc, — and asked if he knew his hourly wage, which prompted him to note that he does not get paid on an hourly basis.
“You’re going to need to know that. Do you know right now how much you get paid calculated as an hourly thing?” she asked, as Adolphsen questioned her inquiry.
“I actually get to ask the questions with all due respect and you can either answer them or refuse to answer them, which is your prerogative,” Porter snapped.
She continued, asking Adolphsen if he knew his gross pay and which day of the week his paycheck is received.
“What day is that?” she pressed, with him refusing to specify.
“Do you know whether you own any certificates of deposit?” she asked.
Adolphsen told Porter he knew his financial situation “quite well,” and she proceeded by asking if he knew his account number.
“My account number? No, I don’t have that handy but I could get it in about 11 seconds,” he told her.
“Tick-tock,” Porter said, pointing to her watch. “I’ll wait.”
“I’m going to be respectful and keep my phone in my pocket as we’re asked to do,” he responded.
Porter said she was asking the questions to demonstrate what she considers the unnecessary paperwork required to apply for food stamps, citing Maine’s SNAP application, specifically.
“This is a six-page application for SNAP,” Porter lamented. “I asked you a handful of these questions to fill all of these out. There’s so many pages I’m dropping them. I apologize. This is a handful of what you’d have to fill out.”
“This is information that is much more extensive than for example I am required to provide in my congressionally mandated financial disclosures as a member of the House of Representatives to the American public,” she added, questioning what the paperwork and additional “informational burdens” do to overall eligibility:
Here’s what the research shows: increasing the administrative burden on working Americans, such as excessive paperwork requirements, decreases the number of people who access the benefits they deserve—even if they’re eligible. https://t.co/0LWLSXNOBJ
— Rep. Katie Porter (@RepKatiePorter) February 6, 2020
As President Trump announced during the State of the Union address on Tuesday, millions of people have been lifted welfare over the course of his administration.
“Under the last administration, more than 10 million people were added to the food stamp rolls,” he said. “Under my administration, 7 million Americans have come off food stamps, and 10 million people have been lifted off of welfare.”
The January jobs report capitalized on Trump’s point, showing the U.S. economy adding 225,000 jobs and the labor force participation rate increasing to 63.4 percent in January, the “best rate since the last recession,” as Breitbart News reported.