June 19, 2012
The Honorable Harry Reid The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader, U.S. Senate Minority Leader, U.S. Senate
S-221, The Capitol S-230, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Reid and Senator McConnell:
On behalf of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), we write in appreciation for your bipartisan effort to complete the Farm Bill. We applaud your efforts and those of Senators Stabenow and Roberts, to continue to enhance the important state-federal partnership in administering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). NCSL urges you to oppose the following amendments, which would restrict flexibility and shift costs to states :
Senator Sessions (Alabama) SA 2174 – oppose. This amendment would limit Categorical Eligibility in the SNAP program to only those receiving cash assistance, which would increase administrative costs in SNAP and significantly curtail state flexibility. Categorical eligibility is currently a state option and to eliminate it would mean redetermining eligibility for the SNAP program. States split administrative costs of SNAP with the federal government so this would be a significant cost shift to states.
Senator Sessions (Alabama) SA 2172 – oppose. This amendment would repeal the high performance state bonus program. The high performance state bonus program provides an incentive for states to administer SNAP in an efficient accurate manor by competing against one another for a monetary bonus. The bonus has been successful in improving program performance, payment accuracy and services.
Senator Boozman (Arkansas) SA 2360 – oppose. This amendment would end the high performance state bonus program and transfer the money to The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). As discussed above, the high performance bonus has rewarded states for reducing errors and improving services. This amendment is also opposed by Feeding America, representing the food banks, who are the recipients of TEFAP. The families served by both SNAP and TEFAP are often the same. It does not assist the food banks to reduce funding for SNAP administration.
NCSL looks forward to continuing to work with you throughout the process of reauthorizing vital nutrition assistance programs in the 2012 Farm Bill. 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 email@example.com 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