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    Coalition Letter: Reform Food Stamps by Including Taxpayer Protections

    FreedomWorks has signed onto the following coalition letter on reforming food stamps and other nutrition entitlement programs in the Farm Bill.

    An Open Letter to the United States Congress:
    Reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by including Taxpayer Protections!

    Dear Members of Congress:

    On behalf of the millions of Americans represented by the undersigned organizations, we write to urge support for several common sense taxpayer protections to the nutrition programs included in the Farm Bill, particularly the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It’s impossible to achieve significant savings in the bill without considering reforms to nutrition programs, as they account for 80% of total spending under the Farm Bill.

    When Congress takes up the food and farm legislation later this year, it should ensure that basic taxpayer protections are applied to nutrition programs.  The following reforms would limit spending, while continuing to provide a basic social safety net for the most vulnerable of Americans.

    • Use block grants: Replacing the annual appropriation with a block grant would give states an incentive to control costs. This is an improvement over current policy, in which states have an incentive to procure as many federal dollars as possible. Last session, Rep. Huelskamp introduced a bill (H.R. 6567) that proposed to merge the six food welfare programs in the Farm Bill into a single block grant.
    • Apply income and asset tests to categorically eligible households: A major driver of the growth in food stamp spending is state-based efforts to increase benefits and expand eligibility. An increasing number of recipients are automatically, or “categorically,” eligible for benefits based on their participation in other programs. According to the Congressional Budget Office, adding income and asset tests to categorical eligibility requirements would trim average annual outlays by $12 billion over 10 years.
    • Roll back spending on Title IV to FY2008 levels: Federal outlays for nutrition programs in 2008 were $37.6 billion; in 2013, they will total $82.0 billion. Returning spending to FY2008 levels would strike a balance between fiscal responsibility and providing a reasonable social safety net.
    • Separate Title IV from the rest of the Bill: Nutrition assistance is unrelated to the agricultural subsidies contained in the rest of the bill and it deserves its own treatment in separate legislation. Washington needs to stop rolling massive programs together in order to secure votes and shield programs from much-needed reform. Last session, Sen. Ron Johnson made a motion to send the bill back to the Agriculture Committee with instructions to strike Title IV—the title dealing with food stamps (SNAP) and other nutrition programs. We urge you to take this important step this year.

    Although there are many other areas in the Farm Bill that are ripe for improvement, lawmakers should consider a combination of the aforementioned reforms to nutrition programs.

    Sincerely,

    James Valvo
    Director of Policy
    Americans For Prosperity

    Phil Kerpen
    President
    American Commitment

    Al Cardenas
    Chairman
    American Conservative Union

    Randy Lewis
    President
    American Seniors Advocates

    Grover Norquist
    President
    Americans for Tax Reform

    John Tate
    President
    Campaign For Liberty

    Timothy Lee
    Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs
    Center for Individual Freedom

    Chris Chocola
    President
    Club for Growth

    Tom Brinkman Jr.
    Chairman
    Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST)

    Jonathan M. Bydlak
    President
    Coalition to Reduce Spending

    Matthew Brouillette
    President and CEO
    Commonwealth Foundation

    Fran Smith
    Board Member and Adjunct Fellow
    Competitive Enterprise Institute

    Mattie Duppler
    Executive Director
    Cost of Government Center

    Tom Schatz
    President
    Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW)

    Myron Ebell
    President
    Freedom Action

    Dean Clancy
    Vice President, Public Policy
    FreedomWorks

    Jimmy LaSalvia
    Executive Director
    GOProud

    Julie Gunlock
    Director, Women For Food Freedom Project
    Independent Women's Forum

    Seton Motley
    President
    Less Government

    Colin A. Hanna
    President
    Let Freedom Ring

    Lew Uhler
    President
    National Tax Limitation Committee

    Pete Sepp
    Executive Vice President
    National Taxpayers Union

    Eli Lehrer
    President
    R Street Institute

    Paul Gessing
    President
    Rio Grande Foundation.

    David Williams
    President
    Taxpayers Protection Alliance

    Morton Blackwell
    Chairman
    The Weyrich Lunch

    Jeff Frazee
    Executive Director
    Young Americans for Liberty