Walker on Farm Bill Passage: "We Can Bring Hope and Opportunity to Families Who Have Not Seen It for Generations"
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) today released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, also called the "farm bill:"
"Though more reforms are needed, this farm bill provides critical certainty to our farmers and makes needed investments in broadband for our state’s rural communities. Moreover, this legislation represents one of the most positive reforms of our broken welfare system that has trapped millions in a vicious cycle of poverty. By promoting the dignity of work and using welfare funds to invest in job-training for work-capable adults, we can bring hope and opportunity to families who have not seen it for generations.”
The farm bill would authorize federal agriculture, conservation, and nutrition programs under the Department of Agriculture until 2023, make critical reforms to encourage work for benefits, and provide access to job-training programs. Critically for North Carolina, the legislation makes investments and priorities in rural broadband to expand access.
The farm bill also represents one of the largest positive welfare reforms to pass the House in some time. According to the House Agriculture Committee the legislation "provides that work capable adults (ages 18-59) work or participate in work training for 20 hours per week. Exempted populations include seniors, disabled, those caring for children under six, or those who are pregnant. No individual loses Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits unless they decline to work or accept free training to learn a skill."
Currently, there are 769,300 able-bodied adults in North Carolina on SNAP. Studies find that 61 percent of those recipients are not working. These reforms would give 484,000 North Carolinians access to work or free job-training to close the skills gap and find work in one of the 6.7 million job openings across the country.
Similar reforms have been implemented in Kansas and Maine with great success. Enrollees who returned to work more than doubled their incomes and their time on welfare was cut in half.
You can read the full text of the legislation here.