During the first consideration of the budget on the Senate floor in four years, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts offered several amendments to save the taxpayer billions while restoring integrity to the food stamp program (now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP).
"We need to ensure that precious taxpayer dollars are getting to those in the greatest need," Roberts said. "SNAP was exempt from sequestration. Certainly we can find savings by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse. The savings I am proposing will occur over 10 years and will not affect food benefits to those the program was truly intended to serve."
The amendments to the Senate Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2014, S. Con. Res. 8, are similar to provisions in Senator Roberts' bill the Improve Nutrition Program Integrity and Deficit Reduction Act, S. 458. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), S. 458 saves the taxpayer $36 billion over 10 years. The CBO score can be found here. Text of the full bill is available here.
SNAP, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), provided a total of $74.6 billion in food benefits to an average of 46.6 million people per month in Fiscal Year 2012.
Roberts Amendment No. 182: offers Roberts' SNAP bill, S. 458, as an amendment. Saves $36 billion;
Roberts Amendment No. 183: ties automatic SNAP eligibility to TANF cash assistance only. Saves $11.5 billion;
Roberts Amendment No. 180: eliminates LIHEAP Loophole. The amendment would end States' practice of circumventing intention of SNAP rules to increase food benefits. Saves $12 billion;
Roberts Amendment No. 181: eliminates SNAP Employment and Training Program, ending a duplicative federal program that provides reimbursement for expenses including union dues. Saves $4.4 billion.
Senator Roberts, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, has a proven track record on reforming federal nutrition programs. As Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in 1995, then Congressman Roberts eliminated waste, fraud and abuse in the Food Stamp Program as part of the Freedom to Farm Bill.