More than 200 state legislators call on USDA to implement work-focused reforms

Washington, DC – Today, the Opportunity Solutions Project (OSP) submitted a letter on behalf of 200 state legislators in 27 states encouraging the United State Department of Agriculture to implement reforms that prioritize work and move able-bodied adults from welfare to work.

The letter states: “We have witnessed the positive effects of work on those trapped in dependency and know that policies that encourage work will benefit not just able-bodied adults who are freed from welfare, but the truly needy as well.”

You can view the letter here or read it in full below.


April 9, 2018

U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Ave., S.W.

Washington, DC 20250


Re: The United States Department of Agriculture’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR)


The United States Department of Agriculture’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on 23 February 2018—seeking comment on regulatory or other changes to better fulfill the original purpose of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—is a welcome sign that the Trump Administration is ready and able to do the right thing for taxpayers and SNAP recipients alike.


We urge the USDA to implement reforms that prioritize work and move able-bodied adults from welfare to work. We have witnessed the positive effects of work on those trapped in dependency and know that policies that encourage work will benefit not just able-bodied adults who are freed from welfare, but the truly needy as well.


Food stamps are not meant to be a permanent entitlement for able-bodied adults without children—instead, they should be a temporary aid to the most vulnerable. As Ronald Reagan once said, “The only true measure of a welfare program’s success is how many people it makes independent of welfare.” We could not agree more.


That is why it is so troubling that, for the past two decades, policies and loopholes have further trapped able-bodied adults in welfare instead of empowering them to work. From 2000 to 2008, the number of able-bodied, childless adults receiving food stamps hovered at or below one million; by 2015, this number had reached nearly five million. Even more troubling, 75 percent of these adults do not work at all. Some states have exploited gimmicks to waive work requirements for able-bodied adults, flooding the welfare rolls and threatening resources for the truly needy.


As elected state legislators from 27 states, we urge SNAP regulatory changes that center on one simple and overriding principle—able-bodied adults without children must be required to work, train, or volunteer in order to receive benefits. There is an opportunity for change—and the USDA is to be commended for seizing it.



Sincerely, the undersigned


Senator Larry Alley (KS SD-32)

Representative Sonya Anderson (MO HD-131)

Senator Kevin Avard (NH SD-12)

Representative Kurt Bahr (MO HD-102)

Representative Al Baldasaro (NH HD-5)

Representative Mark Batinick (IL HD-97)

Representative Philip Bean (NH HD-21)

Representative Robert Behning (IN HD-91)

House Majority Leader John Bell (NC HD-10)

Delegate Dickie Bell (VA HD-20)

Representative Emil Bergquist (KS HD-91)

Representative Brian Birdwell (TX SD-22)

Senator Dick Black (VA SD-13)

Senator Kevin Blackwell (MS SD-19)

Representative Dennis Bonnen (TX HD-25)

Representative Rick Brattin (MO HD-55)

Representative Dana Bumgardner (NC HD-109)

Representative Cindy Burkett (TX HD-113)

Representative Tom Burnett (MT HD-67)

Representative DeWayne Burns (TX HD-58)

Representative Jesse Burris (KS HD-82)

Representative John Cabello (IL HD-68)

Senator Donna Campbell (TX SD-25)

Representative Blake Carpenter (KS HD-81)

Representative Paul Chace (ME HD-46)

Senator Leland Christensen (WY SD-17)

Representative Phil Christofanelli (MO HD-105)

Senator Wes Climer (SC SD-15)

Delegate Ben Cline (VA HD-24)

Delegate Mark Cole (VA HD-88)

Representative Tristan Cole (MI HD-105)

Representative Kim Coleman (UT HD-42)

Senator Bill Coley (OH SD-4)

Senator Tom Corbin (SC SD-5)

Senator Mark Costello (IA SD-12)

Representative Tom Craddick (TX HD-82)

Senator Sandy Crawford (MO SD-28)

Senator Brandon Creighton (TX SD-4)

Senator Andre Cushing (ME SD-10)

Senator Alberta Darling (WI SD-8)

Representative Jay Dean (TX HD-7)

Representative Bruce DeGroot (MO HD-101)

Representative Leo Delperdang (KS HD-94)

Senator Bill DeSteph (VA SD-8)

Representative Dave Deyoe (IA HD-49)

Representative Cecil Dolecheck (IA HD-24)

Senator Ogden Driskill (WY SD-01)

Representative David Eastman (AK HD-10)

Senator Bill Eigel (MO SD-23)

Representative Jason Elliott (SC HD-22)

Senator Ed Emery (MO SD-31)

Representative Keith Esau (KS HD-14)

Senator Craig Estes (TX SD-30)

Representative Wayne Faircloth (TX HD-23)

Representative Pat Fallon (TX HD-106)

Senator Karen Fann (AZ SD-1)

Representative Brad Farrin (ME HD-111)

Delegate Tom Fast (WV HD-32)

Senator Dan Feyen (WI SD-18)

Representative Randy Fine (FL HD-53)

Representative Dean Fisher (IA HD-72)

Senator Steve Fitzgerald (KS SD-5)

House Assistant Majority Leader Geoff Foster (WV HD-15)

Delegate Buddy Fowler (VA HD-55)

Representative James Frank (TX HD-69)

Representative Lisa Freeman (NH HD-12)

Senator Harold French (NH SD-7)

Representative Avery Frix (OK HD-13)

House Assistant Majority Floor Leader David Frizzell (IN HD-93)

Representative Joel Fry (IA HD-27)

Representative Randy Garber (KS HD-62)

Senator Ed Gaunch (WV SD-8)

Representative Gary Glenn (MI HD-98)

Representative Craig Goldman (TX HD-97)

Representative Marsha Haefner (MO HD-95)

Senator Bob Hall (TX SD-2)

Representative Destin Hall (NC HD-87)

Representative Kyle Hall (NC HD-91)

Representative Matt Harrington (ME HD-19)

Representative Stephanie Hawke (ME HD-89)

Representative Dan Hawkins (KS HD-100)

Delegate Chris Head (VA HD-17)

Representative Greg Heartsill (IA HD-28)

Representative Cole Hefner (TX HD-5)

Representative Leslie Heinemann (SD HD-8)

Representative Steve Helms (MO HD-135)

Senator Greg Hembree (SC SD-28)

Representative Phyllis Henderson (SC HD-21)

Representative Ronald Highland (KS HD-51)

Senator Richard Hilderbrand (KS SD-13)

Representative Justin Hill (MO HD-108)

Senator Ralph Hise (NC SD-47)

Representative Kyle Hoffman (KS HD-116)

Representative Steven Holt (IA HD-18)

Representative Werner Horn (NH HD-2)

Senator Denny Hoskins (MO SD-21)

Delegate Eric Householder (WV HD-64)

Representative Julia Howard (NC HD-79)

Senator Bryan Hughes (TX SD-1)

Senator Don Huffines (TX SD-16)

Representative Dan Hynes (NH HD-21)

Rep. Jason Isaac (TX HD-45)

Representative Jeanne Ives (IL HD-42)

Representative Trevor Jacobs (KS HD-4)

Representative Daniel Johnston (ND HD-24)

Representative Bert Jones (NC HD-65)

Representative Kevin Jones (KS HD-5)

Representative JP Jordan (OK HD-43)

Senator Chris Kapenga (WI SD-33)

Representative Hannah Kelly (MO HD-141)

Representative Tim Kelly (MI HD-94)

Representative Anthony Kern (AZ HD-20)

Representative Phil King (TX HD-61)

Representative Jeff Knight (MO HD-129)

Senator Lois Kolkhorst (TX SD-18)

Senator Joyce Krawiec (NC SD-31)

Representative Scott Krug (WI HD-72)

Delegate Steve Landes (VA HD-25)

Representative Brooks Landgraf (TX HD-81)

Senator Mike Lang (MT SD-17)

Representative Timothy Lang (NH HD-4)

Delegate Dave LaRock (VA HD-33)

Representative Kim LaSata (MI HD-79)

Representative Jodie Laubenberg (TX HD-89)

Representative Dan Laursen (WY HD-25)

House Majority Floor Leader Matt Lehman (IN HD-79)

Senator Devin LeMahieu (WI SD-9)

Representative Dwight A. Loftis (SC HD-19)

Representative Chris Malone (NC HD-35)

Senator Howard Marklein (WI SD-17)

Representative Les Mason (KS HD-73)

Senator Ty Masterson (KS SD-16)

Representative Michael McCarthy (NH HD-29)

Representative Daniel McCay (UT HD-41)

Senator Dan McConchie (IL SD-26)

Representative Mike McKell (UT HD-66)

Representative David McSweeney (IL HD-52)

Representative Will Metcalf (TX HD-16)

Representative Rick Miller (TX HD-26)

Representative Rocky Miller (MO HD-124)

Representative Arnold Mooney (AL HD-43)

Representative Sean Morrison (NH HD-9)

Representative Tom Morrison (IL HD-54)

Representative Glen Mulready (OK HD-68)

Senator Brian Munzlinger (MO SD-18)

Representative Jason Murphey (OK HD-31)

Senator Steve Nass (WI SD-11)

Senator Robert Nichols (TX SD-3)

Representative John Nygren (WI HD-89)

Representative Terry O’Donnell (OK HD-23)

Senator Luther Olsen (WI SD-14)

Senator Arthur Orr (AL SD-3)

Representative Les Osterman (KS HD-97)

Delegate Neil Parrott (MD HD-2A)

Senator Louis Pate (NC SD-7)

Representative Dennis Paul (TX HD-129)

Representative Kevin Payne (AZ HD-21)

Senator Charles Perry (TX SD-28)

Senator R. Ray Peterson (WY SD-19)

Representative Jeff Pierce (ME HD-53)

Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook (KS SD-10)

Delegate Brenda Pogge (VA HD-96)

Delegate Charles Poindexter (VA HD-9)

Representative Joshua Putnam (SC HD-10)

Representative Paul Ray (UT HD-13)

Representative Holly Rehder (MO HD-148)

Representative Shawn Rhoads (MO HD-154)

Representative Matt Rinaldi (TX HD-115)

Representative Mike Rohrkaste (WI HD-55)

Senator Gary Romine (MO SD-3)

Representative Jason Saine (NC HD-97)

Representative Sandy Salmon (IA HD-63)

Representative Deb Sanderson (ME HD-88)

Senator David Sater (MO SD-29)

Representative Nick Schroer (MO HD-107)

Senator Mark Segebart (IA SD-6)

Representative Joe Seiwert (KS HD-101)

Senator Kel Seliger (TX SD-31)

Representative Mitchell Setzer (NC HD-89)

Representative Matt Shaheen (TX HD-66)

Delegate John Shott (WV HD-27)

Senator Amy Sinclair (IA SD-14)

Representative Allen Skillicorn (IL HD-66)

Representative Eric Smith (KS HD-76)

Representative Garry R. Smith (SC HD-27)

Senator Randy Smith (WV SD-14)

Delegate Kelli Sobonya (WV HD-18)

Representative Joe Sosnowski (IL HD-69)

Representative Trey Stewart (ME HD-147)

Senator Duey Stroebel Jr. (WI SD-20)

Delegate Amy Summers (WV HD-49)

Senator Tom Takubo (WV SD-17)

Senator Scott Talley (SC SD-12)

Representative Sean Tarwater (KS HD-27)

Representative Jered Taylor (MO HD-139)

Senator Larry Taylor (TX SD-11)

Representative Rob Taylor (IA HD-44)

Representative Zack Taylor (OK HD-28)

Representative Tess Teague (OK HD-101)

Representative David Testerman (NH HD-2)

Representative Jack Thimesch (KS HD-114)

Representative Ed Thompson (TX HD-29)

Representative Bob Thorpe (AZ HD-6)

Senator Tom Tiffany (WI SD-12)

Representative Tony Tinderholt (TX HD-94)

Representative Curtis Trent (MO HD-133)

Senator Ross Turner (SC SD-8)

Delegate Jill Upson (WV HD-65)

Representative Heath VanNatter (IN HD-38)

Representative Hank Vaupel (MI HD-47)

Representative Jene Vickrey (KS HD-6)

Senator Leah Vukmir (WI SD-5)

Senator Wayne Wallingford (MO SD-27)

Representative Peggy Webb (MT HD-43)

Senator Roger Webb (MT SD-24)

Delegate Michael Webert (VA HD-18)

Representative Bill White (MO HD-161)

Representative Frank White (FL HD-2)

Representative James White (TX HD-19)

Senator Rick Wilborn (KS SD-35)

Delegate Tony Wilt (VA HD-26)

Representative John Wray (TX HD-10)

Representative Bryan Zollinger (ID HD-33)