House Rules Committee poised to set rule on 3-year nutrition bill
By Derrick Cain
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2013 - The House Rules Committee is expected to set a rule Wednesday for a three-year nutrition bill (H.R. 3102) that aims to cut about $40 billion over 10 years for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The committee's action could lead to full floor debate on Thursday where the bill is likely to meet with strong opposition from most Democrats, and even some Republicans.
The bill largely tracks a summary that emerged from the House last week.
Some of the changes in the “Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act” include a plan to eliminate “categorical eligibility,” which allows families that receive a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) brochure or referral to an “800” number to automatically be eligible for SNAP benefits, according to the summary. This change aims to save $11.5 billion.
The bill also seeks to eliminate the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) “loophole” that critics say allows states to “game the system” by securing more federal taxpayer dollars by sending token LIHEAP checks-some as low as $5-to increase SNAP benefits. The summary said states would be banned from sending LIHEAP payments below $20 for the sole purpose of increasing their SNAP benefits. Savings is expected to be $8.7 billion.
Another provision in the bill would eliminate state bonuses for signing up people for SNAP each year at a savings of $480 million.
Further, the bill includes an array of proposed reforms to the SNAP program, as outlined in the summary.
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