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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott pushes food stamp work requirements in D.C.



Gov. Rick Scott is urging House Speaker John Boehner to support a measure by Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, that would force food stamp recipients to demonstrate they are looking for work.

"I write to express and urge support for the 'Providing Relief to Individuals Desiring Employment (PRIDE) Act,' which Will be offered by U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland as an amendment to the Farm Bill," Scott wrote Wednesday to Boehner. "The PRIDE Act will allow governors to apply for a federal waiver to implement work, education, and training requirements in their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)."

Scott's letter cites statistics on the growth of the food stamp program, from $20 billion in 2000 to $85 billion today, and claims that half of the households in 2011 had stopped looking for work. On Wednesday, the Republican-led House voted to cut $2 billion annually from the program. The vote came within debate of the farm bill and more votes willl come Thursday.

"Rep. Southerland's proposal recognizes the need to reform long-running government-assistance programs to ensure their availability for future generations while allowing states to modernize and tailor their administration of these federal programs," Scott wrote. "Florida's Reemployment Assistance Program requires claimants to document and submit a minimum of five unique and verifiable Work searches per week. Requiring similar job seeking measures for SNAP will help support our ultimate goal of every Florida family having a great job."

UPDATE 1:30 p.m. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, responds: “It is disturbing that Gov. Scott from Paris joined a Congressional Republican maneuver to drastically cut nutrition to Florida families, children and seniors. Taxpayers should know that a work requirement already exists in order for Florida families to receive SNAP. Reforms are on track and use of SNAP is declining as the economy improves, but Republicans have gone too far. Children and persons with disabilities would put at serious risk. Gov. Scott reminds me of Marie Antoinette who told Parisians hungry for bread to ‘Let them eat cake.’”

[Last modified: Thursday, June 20, 2013 1:33pm]


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