The House has voted for sweeping changes to the food stamp program.
By a vote of 217-210, the house voted Thursday to cut nearly $4 billion a year from the food stamp program. That's a 5 percent reduction. Democrats united in opposition and some Republican moderates said the cut was too high. Fifteen Republicans voted against the measure. But Alabama's Mike Rogers supported the measure.
"I've said it so many times, but it still rings true - Washington has a serious spending problem. Today's legislation will reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program, and save taxpayers almost $40 billion over the next decade. SNAP does play an essential role in helping those in need, but the waste and abuse of this program originally designed to help the very poor has ballooned out-of-control. Spending on the SNAP program has over doubled since 2007 and these reforms should help encourage able-bodied folks to get back to work. I believe by re-enforcing the work provisions of the 1996 Welfare Reform law which were relaxed in the President's Stimulus bill we can move people from food stamps to jobs," Congressman Rogers said.
The bill's savings would be achieved by allowing states to put broad new work requirements in place for many food stamp recipients and to test applicants for drugs. The bill also would end government waivers that have allowed able-bodied adults without dependents to receive food stamps indefinitely.
"This bill will help rein in this spending and allow food stamps to be used in the way they were intended to be used: for those who need it most. We must get our country's fiscal house in order and this legislation is a good first step," Rogers said.
Food stamp costs have more than doubled in the last five years. More than 1 in 7 Americans use them.