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AFP Letter of Support for Rep. Huelskamp's State Nutrition Assistance Flexibility Act

April 25, 2013 J

Dear Representative Huelskamp:

On behalf of more than two million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I applaud you for reintroducing the State Nutrition Assistance Flexibility Act (H.R.1355), which will turn federal nutrition programs into a block grant. This will bring some much-needed fiscal restraint to Washington, while providing a basic social safety net for the most vulnerable of Americans.

Spending on food assistance programs has skyrocketed in recent years. In 2012, the federal government spent over $78 billion on food stamps, more than twice the amount it spent four years earlier. Although this growth is partly due to the down economy, a bigger driver of this growth is changes at the state level that increase benefits and expand eligibility. Common methods include removing asset tests and automatically enrolling people into the program based on their participation in other specified programs. States have no incentive to control costs or improve oversight because the federal government pays most of the costs. Instead, they have an incentive to procure as many federal dollars as possible.

Your legislation provides a solution. Your bill will merge six federal food assistance programs into a single block grant, and then transfer administrative control from the federal government to the states. States will then have flexibility in adapting their program to the unique needs of their population, as well as the incentive to allocate funds more wisely.

Notably, your bill will also establish work-requirements for able-bodied recipients. As a centerpiece of the 1996 welfare law, the “welfare-to-work” program has been very effective in assisting Americans when they need help but also encouraging them to leave the life of dependence on government.

AFP is proud to support the State Nutrition Assistance Flexibility Act (H.R.1355). I urge your colleagues to support its passage, and I look forward to working with you in the future.

Sincerely,

James Valvo
Director of Policy
Americans for Prosperity

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