Rep. Miller: House Passes Responsible Nutrition Reforms

Sep 19, 2013

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10) today made the following comments upon the U.S. House of Representatives passage of H.R. 3102, the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013.  H.R. 3102 makes needed reforms to and restores the integrity of our nation’s nutrition safety-net program.  Miller said:

“Americans have a long and proud tradition of extending aid to their fellow citizens in times of need.  When our friends, our families and our communities need help we have provided it – and as taxpayers, we provide this assistance through our federal government.  However, for decades these nutrition supplemental programs, more commonly known as food stamp, were combined with our nation’s farm policy even though one has little to do with the other.  This is why today the House passed a bill to ensure that the food stamp programs stand on their own merit, making the needed reforms to strengthen assistance, ensuring our nation’s citizens are provided with a better product, as well as saving the taxpayers an estimated $40 billion over ten years. 

“These reforms will provide the assistance to those who need it and works to end the ramped waste, fraud and abuse done by a few who steal millions from the program.  One example recently reported was of the arrest of nine retailers from Detroit’s Eastern Market Terminal for defrauding the government’s food stamp program, stealing millions of dollars.  And that is just one recent example.

“I urge both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate to move swiftly to Conference in order to finalize the need reforms for both our nation’s agriculture policy and nutrition-food stamp programs.”

Specifically, H.R. 3102, the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013 will:

• Ensures that work requirements set into law in 1996 for able-bodied adults without children are enforced not waived
• Eliminate the ability of individuals to be deemed “categorically eligible” when they don’t meet the income or asset requirements for public assistance
• Prevent the gaming of the system through the “heat-and-eat loophole” whereby food stamp benefits are increased above what individuals are entitled to received
• Prevent taxpayer funded advocacy campaign designed to sell people on enrolling in the food stamp program
• Empower states to engage able-bodied parents in work and job training as part of receiving food stamps

This bill not only restores the integrity of this safety-net program, it will help beneficiaries become more self-sufficient. These reforms will also generate at least $40 billion in savings for taxpayers over the next ten years.