Testimony on the impact of proposed work requirements for SNAP recipients

US Congress
Editor's note:

Below is the written testimony of Jay Shambaugh, Director of The Hamilton Project and a Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, to the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Department Operations Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry during the hearing on “Examining the Proposed ABAWD Rule and its Impact on Hunger and Hardship” on April 3, 2019.

Chairwoman Fudge, Ranking Member Johnson, and Members of the Committee –

Thank you for inviting me to join this important discussion regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Proposed Rule: SNAP Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents.

My name is Jay Shambaugh, and I serve as the Director of The Hamilton Project and as a Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution and a Professor of Economics at George Washington University. I am here to provide evidence regarding SNAP, a program that lifts millions of Americans out of poverty, reduces food insecurity, improves economic security, and acts as a crucial fiscal automatic stabilizer.

Research shows that SNAP is a highly effective program. It also shows that work requirements keep people out of the SNAP program but have little or no impact on work. The proposed rule takes a number of steps to reduce the flexibility of states in using waivers or exemptions from work requirements. The USDA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and its Regulatory Impact Analysis are correct that the changes will reduce SNAP participation, but provide no evidence that the changes would increase employment.

Agencies, such as USDA, may issue regulations when there is a compelling public need and when the benefits outweigh the costs. In my remaining time, I would like to highlight three areas where the proposed rule fails to meet this standard… Read the full testimony