Iowa lawmakers back off severely restricting SNAP eligible foods
Iowa Republicans say they plan on amending a bill that would have severely restricted what food SNAP recipients could buy at the store.
- After a debate yesterday morning, the bill will just restrict candy and non-zero calorie pop purchases, pending USDA approval.
Driving the news: The first draft of House File 3 prompted national outrage due to a section limiting the foods SNAP recipients could purchase to a state-approved WIC list.
- WIC, which is meant to be a supplemental aid for women, infants and children, doesn't allow for the purchase of a wide range of basic groceries, such as fresh meat and white bread.
Yes, but: Advocates from food nonprofits say there are still several issues with the bill that could hurt low-income families, including requiring an "asset test" to qualify for SNAP.
- The test requires the state to consider a household's bank accounts, vehicles and cash on hand.
What they're saying: Requiring an asset test could create a cliff effect that hurts low-income families trying to save money for a down payment or their kids' college education, said Lina Tucker Reinders of the Iowa Public Health Association, during the meeting.
- Working parents could also risk losing SNAP, especially if they're in a rural area and may need two vehicles, said Luke Elzinga of DMARC.
The other side: House Republican Ann Meyer said the bill's intention is to ensure the "right people" are receiving SNAP benefits.
- "They're all your tax dollars," Meyer said.
What's next: The bill passed the subcommittee and will be considered again during the session.
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