On April 12th 2018, Chairman Michael Conaway (TX-11) released H.R. 2 the Agricultural and Nutrition Act of 2018. This legislation covers a wide range of farm policy, but also the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). We wrote a statement on April 26th 2018 outlining substantial concerns with this proposal.
As of today, we are urging a vote of no on H.R. 2 as written.
Our concerns with SNAP provision our substantial.
SNAP should be a stable and available resource, not one that places an undue burden on the individual and the people they love and support.
Chairman Conaway’s proposal will force many people who already work to lose their benefit because they cannot meet the new work requirement, which is set too high at 20 hours weekly for too much of the country. Job training funds contained in the bill are inadequate to the scale of need that this legislation will create in local communities.
In particular specific provisions of H.R. 2 are particularly concerning.
- The penalties and lock out periods for not meeting the work requirement are too high. Losing benefits for 12 months on the first offense, and 36 months for the second is not fair or just. Benefits around food shouldn’t come with harsher compliance standards than paying a parking ticket.
- The number of hours worked and the timeframe- 20 hours weekly- is not well adjusted to the lived realities of every day Americans seeking work. Work in rural communities can be sporadic or even seasonal. Also small businesses or non-profits who are asked to help certify either employment or in some cases volunteer hours at the state level or being asked to do too much that is not core to their mission. This compliance burden and one-sized fits all approach is ill conceived and will cause many Americans to unnecessarily lose their benefits out of everyday compliance issues.
- Taking away categorical eligibility for states is very unhelpful. This provision puts a barrier on the 31 states that currently use this option to offer SNAP benefits to those just over 130 percent of FPL. Removing this option will hurt working families.