On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act, H.R. 2996, introduced by Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.). The bill would establish work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as food stamps.
The number of SNAP recipients has increased dramatically over the past several years. Between 2006 and 2016, participation in the program grew by 17.7 million people. In 2016, 44.2 million people received SNAP benefits, at a cost of more than $66.5 billion.
States have shown that work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents helps reduce welfare spending. In Maine, caseloads have declined by roughly 80 percent after the work requirements were put in place. Similarly, Alabama has seen an 85 percent decline in caseloads in 13 counties that were exempted from work requirements as a result of recent reforms. Unemployment rates in both states have fallen since the implementation of work requirements.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act would establish work requirements for childless able-bodied adults who receive SNAP benefits. A recipient would be able to satisfy the work requirement by participating in a supervised job search. States that fail to comply would be subject to a 10 percent reduction in SNAP funding from the federal government.
Welfare reform has broad bipartisan support. According to a September 2016 survey commissioned by the Foundation for Government Accountability, 79 percent of likely voters support work requirements for childless able-bodied adults. This includes 70 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of independents.
Congress has a responsibility to promote upward mobility and dignity by passing legislation that encourages people to leave welfare and join the workforce. For these reasons, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act, H.R. 2996.
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks