McGovern, DeLauro: House GOP Plan to Impose New Work Requirements for SNAP Would Only Make Poverty Worse

McGovern: Speaker Ryan and House Republicans Must Stop Attacking Families Working to Escape Poverty and Propose Real Bipartisan Solutions

Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today released the following statements regarding news that House Freedom Caucus members have suggested attaching work requirements for recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The news comes just one day after DeLauro and McGovern held a hearing on ‘The Failure of Trickle Down Economics in the War on Poverty.’

“Speaker Ryan likes to talk about tackling poverty, but the latest proposal from extreme Republicans in the House Freedom Caucus would only make it worse. A million of America’s poorest adults are already set to be cut off from food assistance this year and instead of helping these families in need, Republicans are doubling down on cruelty and calling for new excessive work requirements that do nothing to reduce poverty,” Congressman Jim McGovern said. “The majority of people who receive SNAP benefits are children, seniors, and people with disabilities and the majority of those who can work, do work. It’s time for Speaker Ryan and House Republicans to stop attacking American families working to escape poverty and start proposing the real bipartisan solutions our country needs.”

In Massachusetts, up to 50,000 individuals could lose SNAP benefits this year. With 1 in 6 children in Massachusetts already struggling with hunger and 288,000 low-income children already relying on free or reduced-price lunch in school, Congressman McGovern is committed to stopping extreme proposals like those from House Republicans that would hurt families and communities already in need.

“The latest proposal by the House Freedom Caucus once again targets America’s poor, many of whom are children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Are these people expected to work for food? Speaker Ryan and Republicans say that they want to tackle poverty, but imposing additional requirements only serves to cut off a lifeline for millions of Americans who depend on this program each year,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. “We must do everything we can to ensure that we are lifting people out of poverty, not pushing them deeper into it. Whether it is drug testing or work requirements, when will Republicans finally end this assault on the nation’s poor?”

Many states across the nation are reinstating work requirements and time limits after exemptions expired earlier this year. However, the SNAP program has a strong work incentive. For every additional dollar a SNAP recipient earns, their benefits decline by only 24 to 36 cents – much less than in most other programs. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes, among SNAP households with at least one working-age, non-disabled adult, more than half work while on the program, and the rates are even higher for families with children.

For more than four decades, SNAP has been a fundamental bulwark for the poorest and hungriest people in the nation. Deemed “a government reform that worked” by the National Journal, SNAP serves as the nation’s first line of defense against hunger. Three-fourths of SNAP households are families with children, seniors, or people with disabilities. In 2014 alone, the program helped lift 4.7 million Americans out of poverty, including 2.1 million children. SNAP is also far more effective than any other government program in lifting families out of deep poverty.