Letter of Support for Sen. Roberts' and Rep. Neugebauer's Bills Reforming Farm Bill Nutrition Programs
Dear Senator Roberts and Representative Neugebauer:
On behalf of more than two million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I write in support of the Improve Nutrition Program Integrity and Deficit Reduction Act of 2013 (S. 458 and H.R. 1510). Your bill would save over $36 billion and add much-needed taxpayer protections to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which makes up 80 percent of the spending in the Farm Bill.
One of the important reforms in your legislation is placing limits on households that are automatically, or “categorically,” eligible for benefits based on their participation in other government programs. Categorical eligibility has been one of the largest drivers of farm bill spending, due to state-based efforts to sweep more people into the program. Your bill will ensure that beneficiaries do not exceed the regular federal rules for qualifying for the program. This will improve program integrity by ensuring that SNAP dollars go toward those truly in need. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this change would save $11.6 billion over 10 years.
Additionally, your legislation would end the loophole that allows households benefiting from Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) to qualify for SNAP. There have been cases where a state government gives households as little as $1 a year in heating assistance under LIHEAP so that they may be eligible for SNAP benefits, too. CBO reports that eliminating this loophole would result in $12.1 billion in savings over the next decade.
Your legislation is a small step toward reining in skyrocketing Farm Bill spending. However, there is more to do: In the next consideration of the Farm Bill, AFP urges Congress to separate Title IV from the rest of the bill. Nutrition assistance and agricultural subsidies deserves to be considered on their own merits and not rolled into one large bill. Combining these massive programs shields them from much-needed reform.
Americans for Prosperity is proud to support the Improve Nutrition Program Integrity and Deficit Reduction Act of 2013 (S. 458 and H.R. 1510), and similar measures to rein in spending in the bloated farm bill. I urge your colleagues to support this important legislation, and I look forward to working with you in the future.
Director of Policy
Americans for Prosperity