Opening Statement: Republican Leader Don Bacon Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations Subcommittee Hearing: “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Stakeholder Perspectives on SNAP”
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Madam Chair.
And thank you to our witnesses, for sharing your time and expertise with the subcommittee.
I was a freshman throughout the drafting and finalizing of the 2018 Farm Bill; to say the process is daunting and the work tremendous is simply an understatement.
Policy is tough, exacerbated here by the reach and role of SNAP—a program that is currently assisting more than 41 million people at a cost of nearly $9 billion per month.
That is why these hearings are so important, so we as policymakers can understand what is working and what is not. And the latter is equally as important as the former.
I know that SNAP helps people who are in dire straits. But I also know that fuzzy interpretation of the law and regulatory loopholes lead to questions on the integrity and strength of the program, which I hope we can discuss today.
And equally important to today’s conversation is an honest discussion about nutrition and health. We have a real opportunity to promote the consumption of healthy foods. What we are doing now is not working. Employment, healthcare costs, military readiness, and general longevity are highly dependent on the foods we consume.
You as stakeholders, together with policymakers, the Department, other community organizations and local governments, and recipients themselves, are uniquely positioned to improve the health outcomes of millions of people.
So rather than make futile attempts at correcting current policies, let’s be bold. Let’s rethink consumer education. Let’s rethink how we engage with recipients. And let’s rethink how we use the billions of dollars attached to this program for better outcomes.
Madam Chair, after a few attempts, I am glad this hearing is finally taking place. I look forward to the testimony and my colleagues’ questions.
With that, I yield back.