Going into a new electoral term, the Republican-controlled Congress will continue to push reforms for the federal welfare system. Two states — Maine and Arkansas — are looking ban the purchase of junk food with food stamps.
Waiver requests for limiting the scope of SNAP purchases to healthy goods and essentials had been previously rejected by the Obama administration in nine states. But with the Trump administration and a new Congress entering office this month, Maine and Arkansas’ proposals have a much better chance of being approved.
Maine and Arkansas officials see the waivers as a chance to cut down on healthcare and food subsidy costs while improving overall health and obesity rates statewide. The bans could mean that anyone caught trying to purchase soda, candy, or sweets with food stamps would risk being suspended or dropped from the program without warning, according to The Fiscal Times.
“Chips and Cokes and candy bars,” Mary Bentley, a Republican member of the Arkansas Assembly, told media at the time the Arkansas reforms were introduced. “People can go buy Red Bull with food stamps, and that’s not encouraging health.”