WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2016 - The House Agriculture Committee says the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can be improved by nudging recipients into jobs or better-paying work and by ensuring that they have access to healthful foods.

Those ideas are among the findings of a report on lessons the committee learned about from 16 hearings held over the past two years. The report will be used in shaping the committee’s work on the next farm bill.

The report includes ideas that could find bipartisan support. There is “sincere interest on both sides of the aisle in ensuring that SNAP is meeting the needs of those it is intended to serve,” according to the reports executive summary.

Among the findings is that some states need to better enforce their work requirements and that enforcement needs to be coupled with better employment and training programs. “Promoting pathways to employment is the best way to help individuals climb the economic ladder out of poverty and into self-sufficiency,” the report says.

The report also emphasizes the need for low-income people to have access to healthful foods, regardless of whether they live in rural or urban areas. “Nutrition education - working in tandem with targeted incentives - can help SNAP recipients develop healthy lifestyles and healthy eating habits,” the report says.

The report also says that more can be done to cut down on errors and fraud and that there need to be clear program goals and metrics for measuring progress. The committee found that addressing hunger requires collaboration among governments, charities, businesses, health care providers and communities, but the report also says that the diversity of programs serving the poor have “simultaneously generated overlaps and gaps in recipient services.”

"Over the past two years, we have found that the program is working well in many areas, but there are a number of areas in need of improvement,” said House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas.  “The findings in this report will guide our efforts as we prepare to reauthorize SNAP in the 115th Congress.”


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