Roby Statement on Passage of Nutrition Bill With Food Stamp Reforms

September 19, 2013
Press Release

U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) today reacted to passage of the nutrition portion of the Farm Bill saying she is encouraged that Congress is one step closer to passing a full Farm Bill complete with strong agriculture policy and needed food stamp reforms.

After missing the first opportunity to pass a Farm Bill, the House elected to split up the farm and nutrition components of the bill. Since the farm portion passed in July, the House has needed to complete the nutrition portion in order to begin a conference negotiation with the Senate and move toward final passage.

“One of my top priorities in Congress is to look for ways to rein in waste, fraud, and abuse in federal spending programs,” Rep. Roby said. “The reforms included in the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act will prevent waste, fraud, and abuse within the food stamp program and save taxpayers almost $40 billion. I’m pleased the bill also includes a provision I personally championed preventing illegal aliens from obtaining food stamps.

“Anytime we try to address legitimate problems in our nation’s social welfare programs, we are invariably decried as targeting the poor and the elderly. That’s nonsense. No government program is sacred and immune from reforms, especially one that has grown so rapidly in recent years. Since 2007 the number of able-bodied adults on food stamps has risen by an incredible 163 percent.

“Food stamps have played and will continue to play an important role in taking care of our most needy Americans when they truly need it. But the program exists to help lift up those who have hit bottom, not to keep them there.

“With today’s vote we are one step closer to passing a full Farm Bill, something we’ve been working on for almost three years. Our nation needs and our farmers deserve strong agriculture policy that provides certainty and competition.”

H.R. 3102, the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act, includes a number of specific reforms designed to reduce the fraud within the food stamp program, including instituting new work requirements for able-bodied food stamp recipients. Under President Obama, spending on the food stamp program has doubled from $37.6 billion in 2008 to $78 billion in 2012.
H.R. 3102 passed the House by a vote of 217 to 210. You can learn more about H.R. 3102 and the specific reforms here.