Nebraska Rep. Jeff Fortenberry told CNA Nov. 30 that as a Catholic legislator, he was comfortable supporting reasonable work and job-training requirements for SNAP beneficiaries.
"The decayed theology of the last 40 years has left little room for a reasoned approach to charity. Access to meaningful work is dignity. Work gives a person well-being, support, and societal participation. Those who suffer from severe incapacity should not be required, but a holistic approach to charity should integrate work when possible," Fortenberry said.
"The Farm Bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation for America. It provides risk stabilization for farmers and ranchers and protects those who have food insecurity. America enjoys some of the lowest food prices in the world. We pay less for our groceries then anyone else in the world. And this is the result of a smart legislative process that creates an abundance of food supply that actually helps feed the world's poor as well," he added.
"I am hopeful that we can quickly reach bipartisan consensus."
SNAP benefits assist more than 38 million Americans each month to buy food in grocery stores. The proposed employment and job-training requirements were estimated to affect as many as 1.2 million recipients. Savings incurred by the changes would have been reinvested into job training programs and better administration.
The Senate version of the bill did not include the new training requirements, but contained some additional anti-fraud measures, and was able to pass with bipartisan support.
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Congressional Republicans are now indicating that a final compromise bill along the lines of the Senate version can pass before the new Congress, with a Democratic majority in the House, is gaveled into session January 3.
Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Pat Roberts R-KAN said Thursday that the final version of the legislation will not include the tougher work rules contained in the House bill.
"We took a more comprehensive approach to provide program integrity, as opposed to extending age limits to moms that have kids," Roberts told Huffington Post.