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Friday, November 22, 2013

Arthur Delaney: David Vitter's Food Stamp Felon Ban Would Barely Save Any Money



For those of you who have been following this blog since it began in July you know there are multiple Farm Bills banning those convicted of sexual crimes from receiving Food Stamps /SNAP benefits  and they are high on my priority list. All the different bill versions, originated with the "Vitter Amendment".

Here are those posts 

October 23, 2013:          http://goo.gl/tnEJml
October 12, 2013:          http://goo.gl/2quusF
September 20, 2013:   http://goo.gl/ZPXS9a
July 3, 2013:                    http://goo.gl/vqqDrg 

Yesterday an article about the hateful Vitter amendment was published and I wanted to share it with all of you, see below.

Mary Devoy 

David Vitter's Food Stamp Felon Ban Would Barely Save Any Money
By Arthur Delaney   November 21, 2013

WASHINGTON -- When Sen. David Vitter introduced legislation banning convicted rapists, murderers and pedophiles from receiving food stamps, the Louisiana Republican suggested convicts had soaked the system for millions.  

But just how much in food stamps is currently going to these felons? This week the Congressional Budget Office has an answer: not too much, at least in the grand scheme of food stamp spending.

The CBO says that banning the cons Vitter wants banned would reduce Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program spending by just $5 million next year, or six-tenths of a percent of overall SNAP spending. The budget office isn't sure if Vitter meant to ban people who have already been convicted of those crimes or only new convicts going forward. The latter option, which House Republicans included in their separate food stamp legislation, would save $21 million over the standard 10-year budget window, or slightly more than two-tenths of a percent of $764 billion in projected SNAP spending.
 
Vitter suggested that more money would be saved when he promoted his measure. In a press release, Vitter's office said Louisiana sent more than $1 million worth of food stamps to incarcerated criminals in just two years, which would be about 4 percent of state benefits distributed in that time period 

But Vitter's legislation doesn't address the problem pointed out in his press release. Federal law already bans prisoners from receiving SNAP benefits. His amendment, meanwhile, would ban convicts even after they've served their time, since it requires food stamp applicants to certify in writing that they've never been convicted of the listed felonies. The senator hasn't explained why he thinks ex-cons shouldn't get food stamps.  

Federal law currently bans convicted drug felons from SNAP, but most states waive the prohibition. They'd have no such flexibility to waive Vitter's proposal. On a similar front, House Republicans want to give states new power to require food stamp recipients to submit to drug tests. Democrats say they don't like the idea, but aren't making a huge fuss about it.