A Wisconsin lawmaker says President Donald Trump's proposed food stamp reforms will help a lot more people than they will hurt.
“Work is the only way anyone has been able to build a prosperous life for themselves and their family long term," Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, said. "The loophole that President Trump is closing will stop robbing people of their purpose by moving them back into the workforce."
The president has ordered states to no longer exempt single, able-bodied adults who do not have any children from years-old work requirements included in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). That means people who can work must work at least 20 hours a week in order to keep their benefits.
Many Democrats and a number of groups that work with people on food stamps say the rule change will mean some people will go hungry.
In September, Attorney General Josh Kaul joined nearly two dozen other states in suing the Trump Administration over the proposed food stamp changes. Kaul called the changes "cruel."
Kapenga says that's not true.
"I find it ironic that opponents of this policy claim people are being thrown off of welfare when in reality, they are being connected to work so they do not need to be dependent on government assistance," Kapenga said. "This is something that should be celebrated not ridiculed."
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says the rule change could impact as many as 40,000 people in the state. DHS said in 2018, the last year for which numbers are available, 880,164 people were enrolled in the SNAP program throughout the state. That means about 4.5 percent of people on food stamps would see a change in their benefits.
Kapenga said unemployment in Wisconsin is at historic lows, at or above 3 percent. He said encouraging more people to find a good job should be easy and welcomed.
“Nearly all of the employers I speak to are out searching for employees," Kapenga added. "Work is a winning scenario for everyone, so it is disappointing to see our governor intentionally stand in the way of human prosperity. His actions to veto funding for workforce programs which connect individuals to work as well as delay the implementation of work opportunities for those on Medicaid make me question if he is actually working for the people of Wisconsin.”