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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.


James Valvo
Director of Policy
Americans For Prosperity

Phil Kerpen
American Commitment

Al Cardenas
American Conservative Union

Randy Lewis
American Seniors Advocates

Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform

John Tate
Campaign For Liberty

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

Chris Chocola
Club for Growth

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

Jonathan M. Bydlak
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
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW)

Myron Ebell
Freedom Action

Dean Clancy
Vice President, Public Policy

Jimmy LaSalvia
Executive Director

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

Seton Motley
Less Government

Colin A. Hanna
Let Freedom Ring

Lew Uhler
National Tax Limitation Committee

Pete Sepp
Executive Vice President
National Taxpayers Union

Eli Lehrer
R Street Institute

Paul Gessing
Rio Grande Foundation.

David Williams
Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Morton Blackwell
The Weyrich Lunch

Jeff Frazee
Executive Director
Young Americans for Liberty