Congressman Phil Roe, (R), District 1, questioned the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture today in Washington, D.C. as he continues his push for tighter regulations on food stamp benefits. The exchange comes six months after we first told you Rep. Roe had concerns about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program also known as SNAP.
Rep. Roe is still waiting on a comprehensive USDA report on the usage of SNAP benefits that he hopes will help him crack down on possible food stamp fraud. Rep. Roe has sent multiple letters to the agency wondering when the report will be ready, but says he still hasn’t received an answer.
During a House Education and Workforce Committee hearing today about child nutrition assistance, Rep. Roe questioned U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack about the release date. Vilsack said he wasn’t sure when the report would be finished, but said he would check.
Rep. Roe’s office provided us with video of the exchange. During the hearing, Rep. Roe cited numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that show the nation has an obesity problem. He argued to properly tackle nutrition issues in school the U.S. Department of Agriculture first needs to limit what low-income families can buy with SNAP, so kids don’t have as much as access to unhealthy foods at home.
“We need to narrow those food choices so they’re eating healthy,” Rep. Roe said during the hearing. “I want to help you with that because the CDC data I just presented are real and it’s a nationwide problem.”
“I can tell you that what SNAP folks are buying is not much different than what the rest of the country is buying,” Vilsack said in response.
“But they’re buying it with tax dollars,” Rep. Roe responded.
Rep. Roe has previously taken issue with the fact that the USDA lets low-income SNAP recipients buy things like candy, sodas and cookies.
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