Will Work for Food? Republicans Push Stricter Rules for SNAP

Will Work for Food? Republicans Push Stricter Rules for SNAP

Funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps, is provided in the farm bill, a massive spending and regulatory package Congress passes every five years or so. Republican lawmakers hope to create stricter work requirements for food stamp recipients in the 2018 Farm Bill, which was approved by the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday in a 26-to-20 party-line vote.

Under the current rules, able-bodied adults without dependents who are between the ages of 18 and 49 and are not disabled must work or be in training programs for at least 20 hours a week to continue receiving SNAP benefits. Those who fail to meet the work requirements cannot receive food stamps for more than three months in a three-year period.

Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee want to raise the age limit to 59, and shorten the grace period provided to recipients to find work.

The new work rules are expected to reduce SNAP enrollment by 1 million people, saving $20 billion over a decade, according to data from the Congressional Budget Office. To help people find jobs, the bill provides $1 billion for training programs.

The Republican effort is being met with stiff resistance from Democrats, who said the new rules were “heartless” and “deceitful,” according to The Washington Post. Although the bill has now advanced to the House floor, it may have a rough road ahead. Partisan battles over the previous farm bill in 2013 forced lawmakers to renegotiate the legislation, resulting in a bill in 2014 that cut SNAP benefits by 1 percent.