Lawmakers are expected to vote on a new farm bill this week, which deals a blow to part of President Trump’s vision to reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly referred to as food stamps.
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In order to get the bill passed, Republicans had to drop a proposal for a more comprehensive work requirement for SNAP – which provides food assistance to low-income individuals.
Currently, most Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 are required to work at least 20 hours per week in order to qualify for the program.
The proposed measure – backed by the president and House conservatives – would have forced states to stipulate that recipients between the ages of 49 and 59, and those with children above the age of 6, work in order to receive federal assistance.
The bill, including the strict work requirement, barely passed the House in June, but the issue became a sticking point during negotiations in the Senate.
The text of the compromise farm bill, which leaves SNAP untouched, was released on Monday night. It is expected to cost $867 billion over the course of a decade – and SNAP accounts for about 80 percent of those costs, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The president signed an executive order earlier this year focusing on ways to beef up SNAP work requirements.
The administration has communicated its intent to ween people off of welfare – and weed out freeloaders – by putting Americans back to work.
As of January, states have also been allowed to implement a work requirement for Medicaid.
As of August, more than 38 million low-income individuals participated in SNAP, according to preliminary data from the program’s website. The average benefit per person is about $123.50.