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USDA Accepts Fortenberry Recommendations for Program Reforms


Location: Washington, DC

Reforms proposed by Congressman Jeff Fortenberry to reduce fraud and save taxpayer money recently became part of a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) audit report. Findings of the Inspector General's audit of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) were highlighted yesterday during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing.

"SNAP greatly benefits many American families in need," Fortenberry said. "It's an important program, and we should always be mindful that it runs efficiently, ensuring its integrity. I raised concerns in 2011 about potential areas of abuse. I am pleased the Inspector General's audit has found ways to reform practices that may lead to significant taxpayer savings, and I appreciate the Food and Nutrition Service's cooperation in seeing that the appropriate reforms are implemented."

At a hearing in December 2011, Fortenberry, as chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Credit, sought an audit of certain practices within SNAP. This week's Appropriations hearing outlined the key findings of that audit. The audit sampled 10 states across the country, finding that 27,000 people receive SNAP benefits even though they may be ineligible for the program, potentially costing taxpayers $3.7 million each month. Looking at all 50 states, even a small amount of fraud within SNAP ends up costing hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars each year.

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