Governors Seek to Block Food-Stamp Cuts

Members of the Democratic Governors Association listen while Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, makes a statement outside the West Wing of the White House on February 21, 2014 in Washington. Members of the Democratic Governors Association spoke to the press after attending a meeting with US President Barack Obama and US Vice President Joe Biden.
National Journal
Billy House
Add to Briefcase
Billy House
Feb. 25, 2014, 3:32 p.m.

Sev­er­al gov­ernors are try­ing to thwart at­tempts to re­duce food-stamp pay­ments to their states, in a move that could af­fect por­tions of the re­cently passed farm bill aimed at sav­ing $8.6 bil­lion over the next 10 years.

While con­gres­sion­al aides con­ceded Tues­day that the moves could have some im­pact on pro­jec­ted sav­ings in the fed­er­al budget, they say it is too early to tell ex­actly how sig­ni­fic­ant that im­pact might be.

Demo­crat­ic Govs. Peter Shum­lin of Ver­mont and Dev­al Patrick of Mas­sachu­setts have in­dic­ated they are con­sid­er­ing such moves; Con­necti­c­ut’s Dan­nel Mal­loy made his in­ten­tions clear in a state­ment this week.

“Con­necti­c­ut, for one, will not stand by while our low-in­come fam­il­ies and eld­ers are put at risk by Wash­ing­ton polit­ics,” Mal­loy said.

Mal­loy said Con­necti­c­ut is mov­ing to main­tain cur­rent levels of food-stamp, or Sup­ple­ment Nu­tri­tion­al As­sist­ance Pro­gram, be­ne­fits and has dir­ec­ted his ad­min­is­tra­tion to “take all ne­ces­sary meas­ures to pro­tect be­ne­fi­ciar­ies from the neg­at­ive con­sequences of the farm bill.”

What the gov­ernors have in mind amounts to an end run around a new set of re­quire­ments that gov­erns how re­cip­i­ents re­ceive food-stamp as­sist­ance in the states.

The farm bill’s much-touted re­duc­tions were brought about largely by chan­ging eli­gib­il­ity re­quire­ments for food stamps, which are based in some cases on low-in­come heat­ing as­sist­ance provided by the states. As many as 17 states could pay out as little as $1 to re­cip­i­ents to boost that per­son’s eli­gib­il­ity for food aid. The farm bill changed that re­quire­ment to at least $20.01, and the as­sump­tion was that the fed­er­al fund­ing for the food-stamps pro­gram would de­crease as a res­ult.

Yet in an ef­fort to avoid the cuts, Con­necti­c­ut of­fi­cials have shif­ted an ad­ded $1.4 mil­lion of funds avail­able un­der the Con­necti­c­ut En­ergy As­sist­ance Pro­gram to meet the new threshold. The move is ex­pec­ted to pre­serve about $66.6 mil­lion in an­nu­al food-stamp be­ne­fits for house­holds in Con­necti­c­ut.

Pas­sage of the farm bill and its $8.6 bil­lion cut to food stamps capped a long and di­vis­ive ne­go­ti­ation between the House and Sen­ate, a sig­ni­fic­ant amount of which was fo­cused on con­ser­vat­ive de­mands to cut the SNAP pay­ments.

House Ag­ri­cul­ture Com­mit­tee Chair­man Frank Lu­cas and Sen­ate Ag­ri­cul­ture Com­mit­tee Chair­wo­man Debbie Stabenow had no im­me­di­ate com­ment on what the gov­ernors are do­ing.

Con­gres­sion­al budget aud­it­ors, in ana­lyz­ing the sav­ings pro­jec­ted by rais­ing the heat­ing-as­sist­ance threshold, an­ti­cip­ated that some states might move to pre­vent the cuts. The Con­gres­sion­al Budget Of­fice sug­ges­ted that be­cause of budget­ary con­straints, “it seems un­likely that a state would give more than $20 to every house­hold that had been re­ceiv­ing less than $20, but it is an op­tion that is open to states.”

Con­gres­sion­al aides said that even if the sav­ings do come up less than pro­jec­ted, there are oth­er as­pects of the bill that will help lower costs. For in­stance, the bill es­tab­lishes a pi­lot pro­gram to en­cour­age food-stamp re­cip­i­ents to seek jobs.

What We're Following See More »
KIM CALLS TRUMP A “DOTARD”
North Korea Threatens H-Bomb Test Over Pacific
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make Trump pay dearly for his threats. Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, whom he called a 'mentally deranged U.S. dotard' in the latest bout of insults the two leaders have traded in recent weeks."

Source:
INFORMS CONGRESS RE: EXECUTIVE ORDER
Trump Makes Good on Promise of New North Korea Sanctions
1 days ago
THE LATEST

President Trump this afternoon announced another round of sanctions on North Korea, calling the regime "a continuing threat." The executive order, which Trump relayed to Congress, bans any ship or plane that has visited North Korea from visiting the United States within 180 days. The order also authorizes sanctions on any financial institution doing business with North Korea, and permits the secretaries of State and the Treasury to sanction any person involved in trading with North Korea, operating a port there, or involved in a variety of industries there.

SOUTH KOREA WILL SEND AID
Trump Promises More Sanctions on North Korea
2 days ago
THE LATEST

In response to a reporter's question, President Trump said "he’ll be looking to impose further financial penalties on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic tests. ... The U.N. has passed two resolutions recently aimed at squeezing the North Korean economy by cutting off oil, labor and exports to the nation." Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that South Korea's unification ministry is sending an $8m aid package aimed at infants and pregnant women in North Korea. The "humanitarian gesture [is] at odds with calls by Japan and the US for unwavering economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang."

Source:
HIGHLIGHT ISSUES FACING KIDS
FLOTUS to Speak at UN Luncheon
3 days ago
THE LATEST
PRESSES CASE FOR REFORMS
Trump Meets with UN Leaders
3 days ago
THE LATEST

President Trump on Tuesday night met with UN Secretary Guterres and President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak. In both cases, as per releases from the White House, Trump pressed them on the need to reform the UN bureaucracy.

×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login