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White House Threatens Veto of Food Stamp Reform Bill

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The White House issued a veto threat Wednesday for a bill that would require work or job training for food stamp recipients.

The Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act would save $39 billion over 10 years according to the Congressional Budget Office.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 18: People walk past an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) station, more commonly known as Food Stamps, in the GrowNYC Greenmarket in Union Square on September 18, 2013 in New York City. According to a Gallup poll released earlier this month, 20% of American adults struggled to buy enough food at some point in the last year. The rate of hungry people in America has gone relatively unchanged since 2008, suggesting the economic recovery since the 2008 recession may be disproportionately affecting the wealthy. More than 50 of GrowNYC's Greenmarket's now accept EBT; over $800,000 in sales were complete with EBT payment at the Greenmarket's in 2012. GrowNYC is also currently offering a program known as Health Bucks: for ever $5 spent using EBT at a Greenmarket, GrowNYC provides an additional $2, which can be spent specifically on fresh fruits and vegetables. 

 

Credit: Getty Images

 

The House bill was introduced last Thursday after the House separated funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as the food stamp program, from farm subsidies in the farm bill.

The Obama administration “strongly opposes” the legislation, said a release from the White House Office of Management and Budget.

“These cuts would affect a broad array of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet, including working families with children, senior citizens, veterans, and adults who are still looking for work,” the OMB statement said. “Slashing SNAP also weakens our nation’s farm and rural economies.”

“Congress should approach the reauthorization of the Farm Bill in a comprehensive manner,” the OMB continues. “The Administration has called for the enactment of a multi-year Farm Bill that supports rural America while achieving significant deficit reduction. The President’s Budget proposes specific balanced reforms that would accomplish this goal without creating hardship for vulnerable Americans.”

The major provisions of the bill would require that anyone receiving food stamps would either work or be involved in a job training program. Another provision allows states to test food stamp recipients for drug use.

The number of Americans on food stamps climbed from 26 million in 2007 to 47 million in 2012, according to the CBO, with total spending more than doubling from $35 billion to $80 billion over those years.

Last month a USDA Inspector General's report stated that the United States did a poor job of preventing food stamp fraud and frequently allowed “permanently disqualified” people to continue using the taxpayer funded program to purchase items.

 

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