States Finding Way Around Food Stamp Cuts

Monday, 10 Mar 2014 01:28 PM

By Joe Battaglia

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Iowa Rep. Steve King condemned three states that have circumvented cuts in the federal food stamp program, calling their legislative maneuvering, "perverse."

New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania have opted to spend more money on a home-heating subsidy that is tied to increased food stamp aid.

If more states follow their lead, the U.S. government may end up spending the $8.6 billion in food stamp costs it had hoped to save when Congress passed an overhaul of agriculture and food policy last month.

"We didn’t expect [this], or we would’ve written it in the language to prohibit it," King, chairman of the House Agriculture subcommittee that oversees food stamps and nutrition aid, told The Washington Post. "The move, though legal, is perverse, just perverse."

Fiscal conservatives have become increasingly concerned with the recent balloon in spending on food stamps. According to the Washington Post report, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as it is formally known, cost a record $79.9 billion in 2013, almost one-eighth of the roughly $650 billion a year that Americans spend on groceries.

Some of that aid is tied to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which allows states that gave residents as little as $1 a year in home-heating assistance to qualify that person’s household for an average of $1,080 in additional food stamps annually, a practice nicknamed "heat-and-eat."

When 15 states and the District of Columbia began doing this, Congress amended the law, raising to $20 a year the home-heating aid needed for a household to get extra food stamps . But it has not been the deterrent lawmakers envisioned.

New York raised home-heating spending by $6 million, triggering an additional $457 million a year in federal food stamp spending.

In a Feb. 25 statement, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said, "These federal cuts have made it harder for our state’s most vulnerable residents to put food on the table. The state has intervened on behalf of these low-income New Yorkers."

Connecticut and Pennsylvania have taken similar measures. Connecticut will spend an extra $1.4 million to preserve food stamp money for about 50,000 households, while Pennsylvania intends to spend $8 million to save $300 million in food stamp funding for some 400,000 families.

"Some states will be able to do it, some states will not be able to," Connecticut congresswoman Rosa DeLauro told the Washington Post. "They have jumped into the breach where the federal government abdicated its responsibility."

Budget watchdogs like Andy Roth, government affairs vice president with the Washington small-government advocacy group Club for Growth, are not pleased.

"True reform would have included stringent work requirements for food stamp eligibility," he said. "Even better, devolve the program back to the states as block grants, which would end the temptation to exploit quirks in federal law."

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Retype Email:
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Gallup Poll: Most Full-Time Workers Put in More Than 40 Hours

Saturday, 30 Aug 2014 21:32 PM

The 40-hour work week is usually regarded as the standard for full-timers, but many adults are working 47 hours or more  . . .

Obama Attends Wedding of Longtime Personal Chef

Saturday, 30 Aug 2014 20:16 PM

President Barack Obama set aside the pressures of the world's trouble spots on Saturday to assume the role of spectator  . . .

Bill Clinton to Speak at Miami Rally for Charlie Crist

Saturday, 30 Aug 2014 19:48 PM

Former President Bill Clinton will be the keynote speaker at a rally in Miami Friday for Democrat gubernatorial candidat . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved