DES MOINES, IOWA — On Tuesday an Iowa House subcommittee advanced a bill that will cut down the amount of Iowans on public assistance benefits.
The bill already passed through the Iowa Senate just last week. The legislation would require asset and income tests in order to be eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. It also requires able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work at least 20 hours a week to keep those benefits.
These changes are something House Democrats worry about the amount of Iowans that will be kicked off benefits if the bill passes.
“I’m afraid some of the unintended consequences of it. We are really dropping 8,000 Medicaid patients and 2,800 SNAP. How many of those are kids?,” said Iowa State Representative Timi Brown-Powers, (D), District 61 from Waterloo.
The Legislative Services Agency projected those numbers in it’s fiscal note on the bill. The agency estimated that accounts for 1% of those on public assistance.
House Republicans maintain that this bill is to make sure no one is abusing the system.
“The main concern I heard was that people were going to be kicked off their benefits. They would not be receiving benefits for some reason,” said Iowa State Representative Ann Meyer, (R), District 8 from Fort Dodge. “That’s not what the intent of this bill is. The intent of the bill is to make sure that everyone on the system is eligible for the benefits.”
Since the bill is an appropriations bill, it is funnel-proof for this upcoming Friday’s deadline. Lawmakers have 5 weeks left of session to get these changes through.