Subcommittee Oversight Helps to Ensure Program Remains Good Steward of Tax Dollars
Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) today convened a hearing of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry, which he chairs in the 111th Congress.
Today's hearing reviewed the quality control systems within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) -- the new name for the federal food stamp program. Quality control measures are critical to limiting payment failures and fraud in SNAP.
"In these tough economic times, it is essential that Congress ensures our federal nutrition programs serve as good stewards of taxpayer dollars," said Rep. Baca. "Today's hearing provided an excellent opportunity to examine ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the SNAP program. With the program currently under great strain, serving a record 40 million Americans a month, this review is more critical now than ever before."
As Chair of the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition, and Forestry, Rep. Baca was instrumental in authoring the Nutrition title of the 2008 Farm Bill, which modernized the SNAP program and contained record levels of funding for federal nutrition programs -- including SNAP and TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program).
Testimony at the hearing was heard from both government officials, and food and nutrition advocates. Witnesses included: Ms. Julie Paradis, Administrator for USDA's Food and Nutrition Service; Ms. Kay Brown, the director of Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues at the GAO; Phyllis Fong, the Inspector General of the USDA; Mr. Don Winstead of the Florida Department of Children and Families; Mr. James Weill, President of the Food Research and Action Center; Mr. Scott Faber with the Grocery Manufacturers Association; and Ms. Jennifer Hatcher with the Food Marketing Institute.
"As we move to reauthorize SNAP in the upcoming farm bill, it is absolutely necessary we work to ensure this program is operating efficiently and cost-effectively," concluded Rep. Baca. "Moving forward, we must adequately meet the needs of those Americans who are struggling to put food on the table while also ensuring we get our deficit under control to protect our future generations."
Testimony and written statements submitted by the witnesses can be found online on the Committee's website: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/statements.html.