First and foremost I want to offer prayers to the victims and families of the tragic shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. And while our thoughts are with the victims and their families, we must also thank the first responders and law enforcement professionals who selflessly put their own lives at risk as they responded to the attack. They are representative of first responders and law enforcement officials throughout the country, and we thank them for their service.
This week, the U.S. House passed legislation to fund the federal government while defunding ObamaCare. It has now been more than 40 times that I have voted to repeal or defund all or part of ObamaCare. Opposition to this takeover of the nation's health care system is growing, and it is time for the Senate to take a stand and put the brakes on this terrible law. I look forward to seeing Senators truly representing the citizens of their states by approving this common sense measure to rid the country of this ill-conceived law.
On another matter, the House approved some long overdue reforms this week to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. We passed the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act, cutting $39 billion of waste, fraud, and abuse from the program over the next 10 years.
It is important to note that our bill will not take a single calorie out of the mouths of children, the elderly, or those who are disabled. All individuals who qualify for SNAP will continue to receive nutritional assistance.
This bill does restore the work requirements for able-bodied adults without children that were part of the successful 1996 Welfare Reform Act. The 1996 reform law resulted in a 60 percent reduction in public assistance programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and got people back to work, which is the ultimate goal of this assistance. Individuals would merely be required to prove they are working, participate in a work training program, or volunteer in their local communities for 20 hours a week. Mothers with young children, the elderly, and the disabled would NOT be required to work to receive their SNAP benefits.
This bill eliminates the ability of individuals to be deemed eligible for SNAP when they don't meet the income or asset requirements for public assistance. It restores the integrity of an important safety net program by ensuring benefits go to those truly in need of assistance. The bill now goes to the Senate.
America observed Constitution Day this week, and I had the pleasure of joining students from Mr. Chris Fischer's civics class at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia for a discussion of government and current political events. It was a videoconference in which the students and I communicated via Skype. I was so impressed with the questions they asked.
At a time when we hear so much about a lack of interest in this country and its issues, I congratulate Mr. Fischer and the students of his class who are so keenly interested in their country and its government.
Have a great week.