WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and a leading conservative, issued the following statement today upon passage of The Nutrition Reform & Work Opportunity Act (HR 3102).
“The original goal of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – more commonly referred to as food stamps – was to provide a safety net for those who are too old, too young, or too disabled to help themselves and to provide assistance to those who are temporarily down on their luck. In the past five years, the United States has seen unprecedented growth in the program with one in seven Americans currently on food stamps. While some of this increase can be attributed to our nation’s struggling economy, much of the sustained expansion is a direct result of administration policies aimed to further increase dependence on the government. Loopholes that allow people to enroll even though their income exceeds the normal threshold and waived work requirements for able bodied recipients have allowed the program to go well beyond its original goal and left middle class families, who are struggling to make ends meet themselves, to pick up the tab.
“The Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act passed by the House today enforces work requirements for able-bodied adults, removes ‘categorically eligible’ designations that allow people to qualify when they don’t meet the income or asset requirements for public assistance, prevents taxpayer funded advocacy campaigns designed to sell people on enrolling in the program, and empowers states to provide and job training for able-bodied recipients. By addressing the key issues which have allowed the food stamp program to balloon beyond its original purpose, this bill not only saves taxpayers almost $40 billion, but strengthens the safety net for children, seniors, and the disabled, and reinforces a principle key to the American dream: the best escape from poverty is a job with a future, not permanent reliance on government.”