Subcommittee examines food stamp program

Farm Forum

WASHINGTON – Rep. Steve King, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Nutrition, last week held a public hearing to examine the role of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in relation to other federal assistance programs. SNAP is designed primarily to increase the food purchasing power of eligible low-income households to help them buy a nutritional, low-cost diet. SNAP benefits are fully financed by the federal government; administrative costs are shared between state governments and the federal government.

In recent years, the cost of the program has increased from $37.6 billion in 2008 to nearly $80 billion in 2013. Likewise, participation in the program has grown from 28.2 million participants in 2008 to 47.6 million in 2013. Subcommittee Members used the hearing to learn more about the program, including how it addresses hunger, how it is linked to other federal programs, and how opportunities or barriers impact the ability of low-income families to secure employment and job training to lift themselves out of poverty and off of SNAP.

“No matter what side of the aisle you sit on, we can all agree on the importance of SNAP in helping those in need. However, with soaring deficits and an out-of-control national debt, we must be mindful of this grave fiscal situation. We, as Members of Congress, have a responsibility to the American people to oversee federal programs paid for by the taxpayer to ensure that they are operating in the most efficient, cost-effective manner,” said Chairman Steve King (R-IA-04).

“As Members of the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Nutrition, it is imperative that we take the time to fully understand the intricacies of SNAP and I hope this is an issue we can continue to explore as we look ahead to the next farm bill. SNAP is a powerful anti-poverty program that has been efficient, effective and highly responsive to need. Statistics show that it is operating as it should – providing a supplemental source of funds to assist families with food purchases during tough times,” said Ranking Member Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11).