Iowa Republicans are putting forward a bill that would discourage the people who need help the most from applying for food assistance.
A portion of the bill recommends narrowing SNAP food purchases to only what is on the state’s approved WIC list, which is meant to be a supplemental nutritional aid for women, infants and children.
No white grains — people can only purchase 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice and 100% whole wheat pasta.
No baked, refried or chili beans — people can purchase black, red and pinto beans.
No fresh meats — people can purchase only canned products like canned tuna or canned salmon.
No sliced, cubed or crumbled cheese. No American cheese.
The WIC list is for expectant and new mothers, infants, and children. The list is designed to promote healthy eating. It is not supposed to be weaponized against the state’s lower-income residents to be used as a disincentive to discourage the people who need help the most from applying for SNAP benefits.
The average SNAP benefit is an estimated $155/month in Iowa, which is not enough provide a healthy diet to an individual at the nation’s current food prices. If the state’s Republicans were interested in promoting healthier diets, they would increase their share of SNAP funding to make it easier for people to obtain healthier foods.
I am a strong advocate for healthy diets because they lead to better health outcomes, but what Iowa Republicans are proposing is not related to the health and wellness of a vulnerable population.
It is all about discouraging hungry people who wouldn’t be able to feed themselves for the month on the state’s current SNAP benefit anyway from applying for help.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association