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"House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) said today he plans to propose changes to SNAP that may make it more difficult to negotiate the next farm bill. "The big ticket item is the welfare cliff," the Texas Republican told attendees of Agri-Pulse's Farm Bill Summit in Washington. People should be able to move off food stamps as their income rises, he added, in a way that doesn't cost them more in federal benefits than their wage increases, which he characterized as a poverty trap. Conaway's committee also is looking at changes to training programs and work requirements, particularly for a category of recipients dubbed ABAWDs — Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents. ABAWDs are currently limited to three months of food stamps within a three-year period, unless they have a part-time job or participate in education programs. Conaway said he'll try to ensure reforms don't impact children, the elderly or the disabled, the majority of people receiving SNAP benefits. The congressman also noted that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is eager to do broad welfare reform next year. What that effort looks like, and whether changes to SNAP would be included, are unclear at this point, Conaway said. The changes will be based on the committee's white paper on SNAP — the culmination of its 17 hearings on the program over the last two years."

Posted March 20th, 2017