The Roaring Fork Valley’s federal representatives are split on what should be required for low-income families to get food assistance.
At the center of the controversy are food stamps. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, helps low-income individuals and families afford food and accounts for 80 percent of the bills’ cost.
In the House version of the bill, supported by Rep. Scott Tipton, people would need to be employed to receive benefits. The Senate version, favored by Democratic Senator Michael Bennett and Republican Cory Gardner, eliminates those work requirements.
In Pitkin County, 253 people depend on this program for food. According to Sam Landercasper, Pitkin County’s Economic Assistance Manager, the vast majority of SNAP recipients already work full-time. He said the proposed legislation likely wouldn’t affect how many people receive benefits, but it would place an additional financial burden on the county to ensure SNAP recipients are complying with the new standards.
These differences have to be resolved before the bill can make it to the president’s desk for approval. The current farm bill expires in September.