The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad SNAP Bill

It’s the end of the first week of the 2023 Iowa legislative session, and the news is, well, not good. As you may have guessed from the title of this post, we saw a bill introduced this week targeting SNAP, House File 3.

This bill would restrict SNAP participants’ ability to make their own food choices, take food away from Iowans, and increase hunger and food insecurity in our state. The harmful proposals in the bill include:

  • Restricting SNAP purchases to only foods on the WIC-approved food item list. This would severely limit the foods people could purchase with their SNAP benefits. SNAP recipients could no longer purchase meat, other than certain varieties of canned tuna and salmon. Meat, Poultry, and Seafood is the #1 food category purchased by SNAP participants nationwide, amounting to 1 in every 5 dollars of SNAP benefits spent.

    Other foods that would be restricted from SNAP purchases make up a lengthy list including frozen prepared foods, butter, flour, cooking oil, herbs, spices, coffee and tea, cottage cheese, snack foods, nuts and seeds, white rice, rice noodles, jam, canned fruits and vegetables, soup, condiments, white bread, meal kits, bottled water, sliced cheese, crackers, and on and on. It’s much easier to list what you still would be able to purchase with SNAP than to list all the items you could not.

  • Establishing an asset limit for SNAP. Households would face a limit of $2,750 in assets, or $4,250 in assets if at least one member of the household is age 60 or older, or is disabled. The value of a household’s primary residence and one vehicle would be excluded, as would retirement accounts. Even children’s savings accounts would count toward the asset limit for the household.

    Households with more than one vehicle would be especially at risk of being kicked off SNAP. Having a vehicle can be the difference between finding employment or not, especially in rural areas of the state without public transit. Asset limits also discourage people from saving for emergencies. This policy would keep Iowans stuck in poverty, not help them out.
  • Performing monthly and quarterly eligibility verification checks for SNAP and Medicaid. Such frequent eligibility checks have the potential to make program participants jump through additional hoops and remove people from benefits for which they are eligible, especially when paired with an asset test for SNAP.
  • Requiring participation in the SNAP Employment & Training program to be eligible for SNAP. The bill prohibits the state from exempting people from the SNAP Employment & Training program, which we still have many questions about. But we believe that SNAP E&T should be a voluntary program, not a mandatory program required for SNAP eligibility.
  • Requiring custodial parents to cooperate with the child support recovery unit or lose access to SNAP benefits. There is not a way to implement this provision that does not result in taking food away from children. Furthermore, there is no evidence this type of policy generates significantly more child support payments to custodial households.

Learn more about on this bad bill.

How can you help?


Real stories from real Iowans can stop HF 3, but legislators need to hear loud and clear that we will not stand for this attack on SNAP and the rely on it. You can help stop this bad bill by taking action:

Questions?

Contact us at iowahungercoalition@gmail.com.

7 Replies to “The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad SNAP Bill”

  1. My name is Pamela Mettetal & live in Ogden Iowa. For this bill to be passed will really put a damper on cooking & my body receiving the nutrition it needs. I have arthritis & take medicine for seizure control. I am allergic to many medicines so I do try & get nutrition with the foods I consume. Sincerely Pamela Mettetal

  2. Thats so wrong. Why would they try to stop people from making their own food choices such as meat and rice etc. So very wtong

  3. We no longer have a representative government in this state. No matter what I say, this is all a done deal. You know that, right? Reynolds doesn’t even care and my democratic representatives are powerless against the Kochtopus.

  4. That is the stupidest and most immoral thing I’ve ever heard. You are denying people the right to food and their choice of what they eat. You all need to be kicked out of office and have your heads examined. Who do you think you are telling people how to live? We don’t live in a Nazi controlled land yet! You need to worry about running your own lives and leave others alone.

  5. First: one thing I learned more than a year ago is politicians in Iowa do not want to hear from us. They want our votes- but don’t care what we say afterward. It was on an entirely different subject, but I received the brush-off from every Iowa politician I attempted to contact- with the exception of one on a local level who, not surprisingly, is a Democrat.

    Second, while it’s not limited to Iowa, Iowa has been going against the USDA guidelines for the use and purpose of the SNAP program. While the USDA guidelines state “able-bodied adults WITHOUT DEPENDENTS,” the powers-that-be have seen fit to force individuals WITH dependents, such as small children and even babies, to work in order to receive food stamps. Now, with this new bill, there won’t be any exemptions for anyone.

    Third, those who came up with this bill and those who are supporting it fail to take something important into consideration: other than individuals who are currently in exempt categories- such as disabled persons- not only are people who receive SNAP already working, but paying income taxes to pay into this program. That in itself is good enough reason to state the powers-that-be should not have the authority to tell people what they can and cannot buy- especially since the food listed that would no longer be accessible are essential foods for most individuals and families.

    In whose universe is canned tuna “healthier” than, for example, fresh chicken? Read further into this bill and we can see it is not about health at all. “GOP leaders say the money spent on SNAP could be used elsewhere..” Perhaps we should demand to know what ‘elsewhere’ they want to do with our tax dollars.

    As for the powers-that-be, it’s the same as the economic stimulus and unemployment. With their idiotic approach that these benefits amount to ‘paying people to not work,’ they refuse to acknowledge that covid caused many people to lose their jobs, settle for much lower-paying jobs if they could even find any, or cope with a significant decrease in income even while working full-time.

    It seems to some of us the goal is to return to the 1920s- for people to die if they couldn’t afford medical care or pay for food out-of-pocket. This does show what some politicians are made of when they mouth off with the expression “IOWA VALUES!” Is this really what people- voters and taxpayers- throughout this state consider “Iowa Values”?

  6. Although I am not an Iowa resident, if this were to pass here it might set a precedent for the same or similar type of bill to pass in the other states. This is frightening.

    This is a very troubling bill because it doesn’t do anything to change the position that people are in for the better. No one WANTS to have to rely on using SNAP, but in many cases it’s a necessity in order to prevent starvation. The SNAP benefits are not extravagant to begin with! They certainly help to supplement food costs, but with inflation being at an all-time high, these benefits don’t go very far.

    This bill is an insult to the millions of people who depend on SNAP. Placing these proposed restrictions on the foods that will be eligible for SNAP is demeaning, ludicrous, and prevents the recipient from being able to make personal food choices and/or choose foods that make balanced meals! How are personal food choices any of these legislators’ business? Placing new rules and restrictions isn’t going to help people become self-reliant all of a sudden.

    There is no point in doing this to people other than to wield more power over them by mistreating and demoralizing them.

    Of course, the elected officials who introduced this bill and want it to pass have no idea what it’s like for those people who depend on SNAP. While they are sitting on their gilded thrones eating like royalty every single day, they’re trying to dictate what the “peasants” are allowed to have and what hoops they must jump through to get it.

    Why do these people ALWAYS choose to pick on the poor and downtrodden? Americans are just coming out of this pandemic where, due to unconstitutional, illegal and useless lockdowns, restrictions and mandates imposed by this increasingly out-of-control, power hungry government, millions of people lost their businesses, their incomes, their jobs/careers, their health, millions have been displaced from their homes and are now homeless, have been scrambling to recover in all facets of their lives, many are in survival-mode, and all of us are negatively affected due to insanely high fuel prices, rising utility costs, food costs that off the charts, basic necessities are unaffordable for so many people, rental and housing rates have doubled or even tripled in many parts of the country, and now these elected legislators want to do even more damage to the American people. It’s no wonder why everyone hates them.

    The G.O.P. complains about the Democrats, for example their open border policies that blatantly help illegals first get into the country, then incredibly provide them with cash, housing, medical assistance, food, and other free benefits. The illegals are receiving more and better benefits than the American people can get now: this bill will make things even worse for the American people! I am sick and tired of both parties: they are the same in so many ways. We The People mean NOTHING to these elected officials.

    Don’t they have something more important to do than to spend their time writing ludicrous bills such as this one? Isn’t there anything MORE important they can be doing to make this country a better place, to help The People who voted to put these idiots in office? No one would have voted for them had they known the damage they want to inflict on us. They have no problem spending BILLIONS and BILLIONS of our tax dollars to support Ukraine, to support their government that’s run by Nazis– all done while taking food out of American’s mouths, and that includes babies, children, adults and the elderly. Why not direct OUR tax dollars to benefit We the People instead? Oh, that’s right, doing that would take away all that money being made on the side. Yeah.

    I am appalled and disgusted beyond belief: their job as elected officials is to protect the American people, to do what’s in their best interest, not drive them further into the ground! Instead of pushing more rules and restrictions on them, they should double their SNAP food benefits without question.

    While these legislators eat their Filet Mignon and lobster tails with melted butter, the unfortunate people who depend on SNAP are now barely able to afford to buy Top Ramen which has increased to.40 cents a package. A carton of eggs now costs >$7 a dozen in my town! A gallon of milk is >$6 gallon. A 16oz package of dry pasta is now $2.49 and a loaf of bread is >$5! A can of tuna goes for >$2 each. 80/20 ground beef is >$6/lb. Sale prices are a joke: whenever something goes on sale at an affordable price the shelves are picked clean within hours.

    A single person receives a maximum SNAP benefit of $200/month. I know this because my best friend is permanently disabled and that’s the amount he gets. I would love to see how far these legislators could make that $200 last! They all should be made to live on a $200/mo food budget before writing and trying to pass such disgraceful bills as this. They are punishing people who don’t deserve it.

    Why don’t they go pick on someone their own size?. There is no reason to do this to people who are already stressed past their limit and who are trying to keep their families safe, warm, secure and fed. Most of these folks are trying to claw their way out of the hole they’re in while our government just keeps trying to push them back down.

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