Letter of Support: State Nutrition Assistance Flexibility Act, H.R. 6567
Dear Representative Huelskamp:
On behalf of more than two million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I am writing in support of the State Nutrition Assistance Flexibility Act (H.R. 6567), which will merge the six food welfare programs in the Farm Bill into a single block grant, and also establish work requirements for able-bodied adults.
Spending on food assistance programs has expanded dramatically in recent years. In 2011, the federal government spent over $75 billion on food stamps, more than twice the amount it spent four years earlier. Although this increase is partly due to the economic downturn, a major driver of this growth is changes at the state level that increase benefits and expand eligibility. States are incentivized to do so because the federal government is picking up the tab. Your bill will transfer control of administering food assistance programs from the federal government to the states. States will then have flexibility in adapting their program to the unique needs of their population, improving effectiveness. They will also have incentives to control spending in the programs.
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. This is a good addition to your food stamp block grant proposal.
Your bill also lets states save up to 30% of their grant for a Rainy Day Fund, which they may use for periods of high enrollment. This will give states an incentive to spend their food assistance resources wisely. This is an improvement over current policy, in which states have an incentive procure as many federal dollars as possible. Finally, your bill will also return spending on food stamps to FY2008 levels. This will bring some much-needed fiscal restraint to Washington, while providing a basic social safety net for the most vulnerable of Americans.
Americans for Prosperity is proud to support the State Nutrition Assistance Flexibility Act (H.R. 6567). I urge your colleagues to support its passage and I look forward to working with you in the future.
Director of Policy
Americans for Prosperity