By Steve Schuster
Wisconsin Republican Glenn Grothman has joined other Republican legislators across the country in an effort to make it more difficult to get food assistance. Republicans are attempting to reduce food assistance spending by adding in additional work requirements.
On Tuesday, Grothman tweeted, “Especially following #COVID19, SNAP benefits are subject to waste, fraud, and abuse. The government should not reward individuals who are not even looking for employment. We should encourage people to be working, not staying home!”
The Tweet was in response to another Republican colleague, Rep. Dusty Johnson, who also Tweeted about the subject.
“Work and educational training are the best pathways out of poverty. For too long, states have been abusing SNAP’s waiver system, allowing millions of able-bodied adults without dependents to receive benefits without working,” Johnson Tweeted.
Johnson is now sponsoring The America Works Act, previously led by Republican Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois, who has since retired.
Under the proposed measure, recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as “food stamps”) between the ages of 18-65 would be required to participate in training or education for a minimum of 20 hours per week.
To date, the bill has 24 cosponsors, a staff assistant said during an interview with the Wisconsin Law Journal on Friday.
The Wisconsin Law Journal reached out to Rep. Grothman, but he was not available for immediate comment.
Meanwhile, House Democrats have a plan of their own.
Rep. Gwen Moore joined other Democrat legislators across the country in an effort to make it easier to get food assistance.
Reps. Barbara Lee (CA-12) and Alma Adams (NC-12) reintroduced the Improving Access to Nutrition Act, which seeks to lift the SNAP three-month limit and ensure that all Americans have access to nutritious food and the ability to stay healthy in everyday life, a press release states.
People who report an insufficient amount of work hours are generally prohibited from receiving more than 3 months of SNAP benefits over a 36-month period in an effort to minimize unemployment, according to Lee
“Research finds that relinquishing access to SNAP benefits only forces people into hunger, not job security,” Lee said.
When the temporary suspension ends, approximately 6.1 million individuals will be subject to SNAP time limits and will be at risk of losing critical food assistance, according to Lee.
“Creating barriers to food access that don’t help anybody in our communities with safety or security,” Lee said.
Passing the Improving Access to Nutrition Act will ensure that we keep families healthy and fed, so they can pursue a career, continuing education, job training, and more, Adams added.