House Speaker John Boehner says states that are bumping up home heating aid to food stamp recipients, most of which are led by Democrats, are “cheating” their way around federal funding cuts passed by Congress in the latest $1 trillion farm bill, according to The Hill.
House and Senate lawmakers sought cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by focusing on changing the rules for LIHEAP, also known as the “heat-and-eat” program, whereby low-income people get additional financial assistance beyond food stamp entitlements to go toward heating.
A loophole in the program, however, enabled states to claim more food stamp funding by sending checks as small as $1 to households that would not otherwise have received help.
The farm bill changed the regulations of the program so that states are now required to pay at least $20 in heating assistance to eligible households. The move was projected to save taxpayers $8.6 billion over a decade.
Since the bill was signed by President Barack Obama in February, seven of the 17 states that currently send nominal LIHEAP checks have announced plans to increase that aid to $20 so they can continue to access additional funding from SNAP, The Hill reported. All but one of the seven have Democratic governors, according to The Hill.