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Letter


NTU writes in support of H.R. 6567, the State Nutrition Assistance Flexibility Act.

October 3, 2012

The Honorable Tim Huelskamp     
U.S. House of Representatives
126  Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Paul Broun
U.S. House of Representatives
325 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Steve Chabot
U.S. House of Representatives
2351 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representatives Huelskamp, Broun, and Chabot:

On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write in support of H.R. 6567, your State Nutrition Assistance Flexibility Act. This legislation will expand the welfare reforms of 1996 by applying the same successful block-grant model to six food assistance programs currently administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

H.R. 6567’s approach to block-grant food welfare funds to states at 2008 levels will both save taxpayers money and empower states with the flexibility to establish programs that fit the distinct needs of their citizens. Like the welfare reforms of 1996, food assistance would go hand in hand with the same strong work requirements that have helped millions of low-income families get the tools they need to thrive. Instead of open-ended entitlements, under this legislation, states are responsible for determining eligibility and benefits, and are incentivized to save money through options to create mechanisms such as rainy day funds. By combining multiple programs and turning the reins over to states, H.R. 6567 helps to eliminate waste and overlap that comes with dueling programs, all with common-sense accountability to taxpayers.

For too long USDA, created ostensibly to aid farmers, has also been in the food assistance business – an often-competing enterprise. Returning to states the power to meet the nutritional needs of their poorest citizens will facilitate comprehensive agriculture reform, allowing those policies to be considered on their merits, not simply bundled with unrelated bills to grease the wheels of the legislative process.

Over the past four years, spending on food stamps has doubled to a whopping $75.7 billion in 2011, and today, a record 46.37 million people receive food assistance. With nearly 15 percent of the U.S. population on food stamps, continued high unemployment, a soaring national debt, and a struggling economy, simply sticking with the status quo is an unsustainable solution to a growing problem. These are programs in need of urgent, serious reform and H.R. 6567 does just that.

NTU is pleased to endorse the State Nutrition Assistance Flexibility Act. We urge all Representatives to join you by co-sponsoring it and working toward its passage.

Sincerely,

Nan Swift
Federal Affairs Manager