MEDFORD, Ore.- If Republicans in Congress pass the new farm bill, SNAP recipients will have to go to work or get in school.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal food assistance program that close to 100,000 Oregonians use. SNAP provides a monthly supplement for purchasing nutritious food. Those who qualify get a debit card to use for groceries.
The current U.S. Farm Bill passing through the House of Representatives is looking to add two new requirements. Beneficiaries will have to hold a job, or be in school or job training for 20 hours a week to continue receiving benefits.
The bill would likely impact as many as 5 million Americans who rely on the program. It would mostly affect able- bodied adults without children and school-aged parents who are currently exempt in many states.
The legislation would require able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 64 to work or be enrolled in employment and training programs, which would be expanded under the bill. Parents of children under the age of 12 would be exempt.
You'll remember able-bodied adults without children or other dependents are already required to participate in a training program for 20 hours per week or to work to keep their SNAP benefits longer than three months over a three-year period.
Senator Ron Wyden tells NewsWatch12 he opposes the bill. Wyden mentions he recently visited the Oregon Food Bank to show support for the program.
He plans to use his seat on the budget committee to block the bill. The current farm bill expires Sept. 30th.
Senator Wyden says, "When you're talking about kids and seniors not getting adequate nutrition very often they get sick and that's a whole lot more expensive than a modest amount of help for nutrition."