U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a leading Senate conservative, today introduced the Food Stamp Restoration Act (S.3602) to reform the current food stamp program to be a discretionary block grant for states to design individualized nutrition assistance programs. It is estimated this bill will save more than $300 billion over the next ten years.
"My bill will take the food stamp program out from under federal government control, placing the responsibility of future food stamp programs at the state level where it belongs," said Inhofe. "Today over 46 million Americans claim Food Stamp benefits, which cost taxpayers over $80 billion per year. This cost has more than doubled under the Presidents leadership in just the past four years. Because of the President's failed economic policies and welfare provisions in his stimulus package, millions more Americans are reliant on federal assistance than ever before.
"My bill gives states nearly limitless flexibility to design and implement their food stamp programs in the way that best serves their people. I've never thought that bureaucrats in Washington understood Oklahomans, but the elected officials in Oklahoma City do. By giving increased powers to each state, my bill would provide an opportunity for more people in need to receive adequate care."
The Food Stamp Restoration Act converts the program from a mandatory program into a discretionary one, and it gives power to the states to run and design it. Under the bill, states will be required to meet the following requirements to qualify for the block grant:
A states program must only allow benefit spending on real food, and not be allowed to authorize spending on items such as alcohol and tobacco;
All beneficiaries must submit themselves to drug testing;
States must implement work requirements for the beneficiaries; and
Recipients must be legal residents of the United States.