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SNAP Program Examined by House Committee

On May 20, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing, “Past, Present, and Future of SNAP: The World of Nutrition, Government Duplication, and Unmet Needs.” The hearing focused on demonstrating and ensuring that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has a clear mission and operates accordingly.

Angela K. Rachidi, research fellow in Poverty Studies, American Enterprise Institute, stated, “Because these programs are often operated by different agencies with different oversight, the data systems involved are also different. This creates complexities around data sharing for administrative purposes and makes reporting similar outcomes across programs more difficult. Better coordination would also mean better data and reduced burden on administrative agencies for reporting.” Ms. Rachidi continued, “A better system would be to consolidate programs that share the same goals and coordinate programs across one or two governing bodies, with a focus on the person or household. This will save the government money and reduce the burden on participating families. It may also improve service delivery to families by ensuring that they are made aware of all the benefits they are eligible for, as well as limiting the chance for errors, fraud, and abuse.”

“The federal nutrition assistance programs are a patchwork of underfunded programs layered around the shortfalls of SNAP and the National School Lunch Program,” said Sherri Tussler, executive director, Hunger Task Force. Ms. Tussler continued, “And while these programs serve certain populations well, they also fall short of their intent due to limits of funding or regulation. As such, concern for program duplication should be balanced with the knowledge that the federal nutrition programs do not meet the need. Funding for these programs is wholly inadequate. The evidence of this is the billions of dollars that the private sector plows into buoying their shortfalls. Hunger Task Force has convinced donors to substantially backfill what these programs don’t provide in order to combat hunger in Wisconsin…These grants are a fabulous testament to the will of local people to improve their community, but should also be viewed by this committee as unsustainable gifts, offered to meet unmet need – need that is truly the responsibility of government.”

The following witnesses also testified:

  • Kay Brown, director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security, Government Accountability Office; and
  • Joe Nader, executive chef, Ford Field, and volunteer chef for Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters.
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