Alabama Looks Ahead To Possible Food Stamp Changes
Changes could be coming to the food stamp program nationwide, including in Alabama.
The U.S. House has voted to cut $4 billion from the program, and that could have a big impact here.
There are hundreds of thousands of households in the state of Alabama that depend on the food assistance program. Just how would these proposed changes affect all of those Alabamians?
Every one in seven people across the nation uses food stamps, and the number keeps rising. But with more people comes the need for more money. Andy Hornsby spent most of his career working with the food stamp program at the national level, and he says it's a hard program to balance.
"None of us want needy families who are going without food to suffer. At the same time a program that's spending, getting toward 50 billion dollars, obviously can be tightened," said Hornsby.
Governor Bentley is also troubled by the rise of people in Alabama in the program.
"The thing that bothers me is that from 2008 to this day is that it's almost doubled in the state of Alabama," said the governor.
The proposed changes would let states add work requirements to the program, as well as drug testing. The governor says one solution to cut down the program is more jobs.
"I think we need to look at that program. I think people who really need food stamps, we need to help them. Those that are able bodied, we need to also help them get a job. I want less people on food stamps," said Governor Bentley.
Hornsby agrees, and thinks that tighter regulations will help too.
"A familiy living in a certain area that's economically depressed can go in and pretty much be certified for food stamps without a lot of documentation as to income. I would not have done that. I believe you should keep tight documentation," said Hornsby.
The bill has only passed through the House of Representatives and still needs to make it through the U.S. Senate.