Fla. Gov. Scott asks Boehner to help reform food stamp program

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is teaming up with U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland
to try to make food-stamp recipients earn their daily bread.

In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Scott asked Boehner
to support an amendment proposal to the federal Farm Bill by
Southerland, a Panama City Republican, that would allow states to set
some requirements for those who receive benefits from the federal
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as SNAP.

ebtfroodstampsSoutherland’s  proposed amendment would allow governors top require
SNAP recipients to fulfill work, education and training requirements
that could help them get on the road to becoming independent of
federal assistance.

Southerland calls the amendment the PRIDE Act – for Providing Relief
to Individuals Desiring Employment.

In his letter to Boehner, Scott notes that Florida residents who get
unemployment assistance must document their efforts to find work with
at least five potential job contacts per week.

Having similar requirements of SNAP recipients, he wrote, could help
push people to find work to support themselves and their families.

Scott’s letter notes the expansion of federal spending on food stamps
– from $20 billion in 2000 to $85 billion now. Food stamp spending
makes up 80 percent of the Farm Bill currently under debate for its
five-year renewal.

Not only is the federal government spending more, Scott wrote, but the
assistance was not helping people become independent.

“According to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service,” Scott wrote, “half
of SNAP heads of households in 2011 had stopped looking for work.

“U.S. Rep. Southerland’s proposal recognizes the need to reform
long-running government-assistance programs to ensure their
availability for future generations while allowing states to modernize
and tailor their administration of these federal programs,” Scott

“I applaud U.S. Rep. Southerland’s leadership on this issue and
believe the PRIDE Act is a positive step forward,” Scott concluded.
Scott’s letter was dated June 19, while he was in France for the Paris Air Show.

Southerland was on the floor of the U.S. House on Thursday and could
not be reached for comment.


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