WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Lawmakers in the House of Representatives say Americans receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits shouldn’t have to decide between government benefits and accepting a raise.
“These programs should allow for flexibility, to ensure benefits do not end abruptly and throw workers and their families back into financial turmoil,” Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) said.
Hayes says there is a “benefit cliff,” because snap payments cut off abruptly past a certain income level, leaving many families with a difficult choice.
“[The choice is] [a]ccepting career advancement or putting food on the table for their families,” Hayes said.
American University Associate Professor Dr. Bradley Hardy says SNAP provides crucial economic assistance for America’s families.
“Providing a buffer against income volatility and job loss,” Hardy said.
But some lawmakers are concerned that providing too much assistance, will cause people to lose the desire to work.
“We have to do more to help navigate out of poverty and not just sustain while in poverty,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said.
Bacon says the focus should be on helping the American worker in their jobs.
“To help get folks placed where they’re qualified and engaged in these industries.”
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) says the problem isn’t with workers, but with the low quality of available jobs.
“There isn’t a shortage of Americans looking for work. There’s a shortage of Americans willing to work for low wages, no benefits, no healthcare, no childcare, and no protections,” McGovern said.
Still, lawmakers on both sides say this is a problem that needs fixing.