Exclusive — House Agriculture Chairman Details GOP Plan to Require Work for Food Stamps and Cut Waste, Fraud, Abuse

SNAP program

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-TX) detailed his plan to combat waste, fraud, and abuse on Breitbart News Sunday. Conaway called it a “good for America issue.”

Chairman Conaway released a new bill last Thursday that would require able-bodied Americans without dependents on Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, to obtain gainful employment and pursue education or training in order to continue receiving food stamps.

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.

Rep. Conaway wrote in an op-ed on Thursday, “We need to begin to define success differently—not by how many people we serve, but rather how many people we aid in climbing the economic ladder.”

Rep. Conaway told Breitbart News Sunday, “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. There’s a group that we are not talking about. That group is the elderly, children under 18, mentally and physically disabled. Their SNAP issues will not be changed one iota. The group we’re talking about is the 18 to 59-year-old work-capable person who needs to take care of themselves, and we’re going to help them in the meantime with SNAP benefits while they’re working and training, education, and tools to get themselves on that on-ramp to success and opportunities to break that cycle of poverty. It’s coming at a great time in our economy. The economy is growing and expanding, the tax bill we did in December is taking effect, obviously, and more jobs are being created.”

“This is an opportunity to help people who want to help themselves. Most Americans are very supportive of that idea,” Conaway added.

Chairman Conaway continued, explaining to Breitbart News Sunday hosts Matthew Boyle and Amanda House how the bill will help cut down on waste, fraud, and abuse in SNAP.

Conaway said,On the fiscal conservative side, we are going through waste, fraud, and abuse and program integrity to make sure that just the folks that are supposed to be on there are on there. We got several steps in that regard. Under current law, 42 states are gaming the system to allow people to be on SNAP that don’t qualify. The basic qualifications is if you make 130 percent above the poverty line or less; we got a lot of folks in those 42 states that are making 165 to 200 percent of poverty on SNAP, and that’s not right, it should be at the 130 percent peg. We also improve the asset test. We allow every family account should have a savings account, opportunity to fall back with unexpected expenses. We allow families to accumulate with a savings account that does not count against them.”

President Donald Trump’s administration has taken new actions to prevent fraud and abuse in SNAP. Thanks to a growing economy under President Trump, hundreds of thousands of Americans are dropping off the food stamp rolls.

According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than a million people dropped off the food stamp rolls in the month between December 2017 and January 2018.

In March, the Department of Agriculture hired a “chief integrity officer” to prevent fraud in SNAP.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed legislation in March that would require food stamps recipients to obtain employment or volunteer to receive benefits.

A new survey from the Foundation for Government Accountability revealed that more than 82 percent of Americans, including 94 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Democrats, support work requirements for food stamp recipients.

Despite Americans’ overwhelming support for the idea, Conaway told Breitbart News Sunday that his Democrat colleagues continue to oppose work requirements for food stamps.

Conaway revealed to Boyle and House, “My Democrat colleagues, four weeks ago, basically told me the SNAP changes are non-negotiable: they do not want any changes whatsoever. They went to the sidelines. It’s pretty frustrating, pretty disappointing to see the work we’ve done in Committee, in a bipartisan way too, for three years, for them to suddenly go to the sideline.”

Rep. Conaway continued, “These are political animals; they want to get re-elected in November and I think that when you have an 80 percent issue, you probably need to be on the side of that one with your constituents back home.”

Conaway charged, “This is a good-for-America issue.”

Breitbart News Sunday airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern.

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