House GOP eyes food stamp overhaul

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans are laying the groundwork for a fresh effort to overhaul the food stamp program during Donald Trump’s presidency, with the possibility of new work and eligibility requirements for millions of people.

The GOP majority on the House Agriculture Committee released a two-year review of the program on Wednesday that stops short of making specific policy recommendations, but hints at areas where Republicans could focus: strengthening work requirements and perhaps issuing new ones, tightening some eligibility requirements or providing new incentives to encourage food stamp recipients to buy healthier foods.

“There’s nothing off the table when it comes to looking at solutions around these areas where we think improvements need to be made,” the committee chairman, Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said in an interview with The Associated Press.

The food stamp program, called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) now serves about 43.6 million people and cost $74 billion in 2015. Participation in the program rose sharply as the country suffered a recession. The program now costs roughly twice what it did in 2008.

The report, based on 16 hearings by the committee, recommends better enforcement of some SNAP work programs in certain states, and finds that 42 states use broad eligibility standards that some Republicans have criticized as too loose.