Every five years, Republicans and Democrats get to the negotiating table to pass a bipartisan farm bill. The bill offers subsidies to farmers, props up urban agriculture, and funds farmers’ insurance and the food stamp program aka SNAP.
It is worth noting that the farm bill offers the much-needed cash for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
- SNAP accounts for 80% of the bill’s costs.
- Experts estimate the new piece of legislation would cost taxpayers $868 billion by 2028.
The latest version of the bill set work requirements for welfare recipients. Under the new law, able-bodied SNAP recipients will be required to work or actively seek a job if they want to get food stamps. The only exceptions are minors, pregnant women, and full-time caregivers.
The U.S. House failed to pass the bill on May 18. However, the failed negotiations don’t mean that the welfare reform will be forgotten.
In Georgia, for instance, over 300,000 SNAP recipients will have to have a job to get SNAP benefits. Of those, just 33% will be able to meet the work requirement. As a result, 250,000 Georgians will be removed from the program overnight.
Poor People Are Not Lazy
Critics of the welfare reform noted that the program is a social safety net for many of the nation’s families. If the economy tanks, the situation of those families could get worse.
Critics also blasted Congress for promoting stereotypes about poor people that are on the dole.
There’s a deeply held belief that people in poverty are not only lazy, but they’re dishonest,
said Grace Bagwell Adams of the University of Georgia.
Adams insists that food stamps are an emergency supplement, rather than a “luxury benefit.” Also, most SNAP recipients are poor people that are working. The new farm bill redirects around $700 billion to the nation’s nutrition programs.
Under the current rules, an average family gets $63 per week from the program, which means most recipients opt for cheaper processed foods for them and their families.
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