Future of food stamps program rests on congressional plate

Future of food stamps program rests on congressional plate
The failed bill would have added work requirements to receive food stamps. Congressmen like Alabama’s own Mike Rogers, R-Dist 3,  support the idea.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Last week the U.S.House of Representatives was unable to pass the latest iteration of the farm bill. Within the legislation are changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, commonly referred to simply as the food stamp program

The failed bill would have added work requirements to receive food stamps. Congressmen like Alabama's own Mike Rogers, R-Dist 3,  support the idea.

"I think there should be some minimum expectation that people receiving assistance should be making an effort to get in a better place economically," Rogers said.

For groups like Alabama Arise, they see the proposal as one that's more likely to backfire.

"It's a workforce issue. If people can't eat, they can't work. If children can't eat they can't learn," said Carol Gundlach of Alabama Arise. "We don't think food is the way to get people into the workforce. And that's basically what this bill would do."

Gundlach said many of those on food stamps work jobs where their hours can vary. Gundlach said this could see families qualify for food stamps one week but fall short of potential workforce requirements the next.

Alabama Arise supports funding SNAP along with workforce development type projects.

"That kind of double investment, one in nutrition the other in good employment and training programs, would make a huge difference to families in Alabama," Gundlach said.

According to national reports, the House version of the farm bill could be brought up at any point, most likely next month. The senate is also working on its own version of the legislation.

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