Democrats Fear GOP Proposal Forcing SNAP Recipients to Work Will Cut Number of Those Dependent on Government

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(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

Just when Democrats seem to be growing the number of dependents on the government in a way they like, between COVID handouts and millions of migrants streaming across the southern border, they have hit a bump in the road in the form of a House Republican proposal that would require some recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (commonly referred to as food stamps) to seek some form of employment.

As usual, Democrats panicked when a work requirement was even suggested, and responded with their standard mantra of “women and minorities hardest hit!” Leading the “the sky is falling” charge this time around was squad member Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), who proclaimed on Monday, “Cutting SNAP will lead to homelessness, incarceration and death for 38 million Americans.”

Republicans are now looking to cut costs, but that has not been easy. During the pandemic, the work requirement to receive food stamps was halted, but it is now scheduled to resume sometime this summer. In 2021, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack gave his own version of women and minorities hardest hit and justified waving the requirement during COVID saying, “Groups with typically higher unemployment, including rural Americans, Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and People of Color and those with less than a high-school education would have been disproportionally harmed by this cruel policy.” The debate was part of a hearing on Wednesday chaired by returning Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), where most Senators and witnesses testifying were against the revival of the policy.

While the pandemic was an unusual circumstance, it was Republicans who were charged with the task during the hearing of pointing out the downside of continuing to pay Americans not to work even after the pandemic has ended. Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) stated, “Our workforce participation rate still has not recovered from government shutting down our economy during COVID and President Biden continuing to pay people to watch Netflix long after the pandemic had ended.” And with 18 states that allow waivers that exempt participants in the program from being required to work, it amounts to roughly half of American adults, even though as of February, the number of job openings stood at 9.9 million. Couple that with the disaster that is the Biden economy. A near-record high number of Americans, 41.6 million, are now receiving food stamps, double the total number of the last two decades.

Democrats also do not like to talk about what a magnet for fraud the SNAP program can be. James Whitford is the co-founder and executive director of Watered Gardens Ministries, a privately funded organization dedicated to fighting poverty. At the hearing, he testified just “how easy and common it is to liquidate these benefits at 50 cents on the dollar.”

But aside from fraud and abuse, Democrats also bank on the fact that in many ways, government dependence is addictive. Once someone is in the system, it is hard to get out. Whitford quoted a woman he had assisted who said, “It was harder for me to give up food stamps than it was for me to give up heroin.”

There are also those Democrats who were not afraid to use COVID benefits as essentially a vote-buying scheme. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) handed out fliers during his last campaign which read, Want a $2,000 Check? Vote Warnock.” 

The latest argument is that the program should be expanded as an incentive for buying healthy food. But like always, Democrats are incapable of seeing the bigger picture. Due to soft-on-crime prosecutors in Democrat-run cities who will not prosecute crimes like shoplifting, stores like Walmart, where SNAP recipients might find healthier food options are leaving those cities.

It is a very different Democrat Party from the one in which former President Bill Clinton signed welfare reform legislation that would limit how long someone could collect food stamps and not be working. But in 2023, they don’t even try to hide the fact that they are all for an entire underclass of Americans dependent on government handouts in order to keep them voting for Democrats. And a never-ending stream of low-income illegal immigrants entering the country keeps that underclass populated.

If Democrats floating the idea that expanding the SNAP program will encourage people to eat healthier doesn’t work, and Republicans get their spending cuts, they can always fall back on that old standby, it’s Donald Trump’s fault.

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