NCSL Letter to House Agriculture Committee opposing Nutrition Title as Proposed in the FAARM Act Discussion Draft
July 10, 2012
The Honorable Frank Lucas The Honorable Collin Peterson
Chair, Agriculture Committee Ranking Member, Agriculture Committee
U.S. House of Representatives U.S. House of Representatives
1301 Longworth HOB 1301 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Peterson:
On behalf of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), we write in opposition to the Nutrition Title in the discussion draft of the “Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM Act) of 2012.” States share your concern about the size of the federal deficit. However, NCSL strongly opposes accomplishing this goal through the proposed disproportionate reductions in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). NCSL opposes these proposals that would impose costly administrative burdens and mandates on state governments and remove state flexibility that is critical to cost-effective administration of SNAP.
The FARRM Act proposes limiting categorical eligibility to only Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash recipients. This limitation in categorical eligibility would increase state administrative costs in SNAP and significantly curtail state flexibility. This proposal would require states to redetermine eligibility for SNAP. Since states split administrative costs of SNAP with the federal government, this would be a significant cost shift to states. States continue to face difficult fiscal situations and limiting state options only places an increased burden on state budgets.
Additionally, NCSL is opposed to the proposed elimination of the high performance state bonus program. The high performance state bonus program provides an incentive for states to administer SNAP in an efficient, accurate manner by competing against one another for a monetary bonus. The bonus has been successful in improving program performance, payment accuracy and services. Currently, the error rate in SNAP is at historic lows.
The Senate hit the right balance in their legislation, S. 3240. NCSL opposed amendments to S. 3240, which proposed the same limits on categorical eligibility and the elimination of the state performance bonus program, and both these amendments were defeated in a bipartisan vote.
NCSL looks forward to continuing to work with you throughout the process of reauthorizing vital nutrition assistance programs. If you have any questions regarding NCSL’s policy on nutrition programs, including SNAP, please do not hesitate to contact Sheri Steisel or Emily Wengrovius at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (202)624-5400.
The Honorable Tom Hansen The Honorable Barbara W. Ballard
South Dakota Senate Kansas House of Representatives
Chair NCSL Human Services & Welfare Committee Chair NCSL Human Services & Welfare Committee