Support Grows for USDA’s Proposal to Revise Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility

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Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson submitted a public comment supporting the USDA’s proposed rule on broad-based categorical eligibility (BBCE), adding his voice to a growing chorus of state leaders in favor of commonsense welfare reform.

“The proposed changes in the rule are modest, commonsense approaches to strengthening program integrity in the SNAP program that cost $65 billion in 2018,” Governor Hutchinson said in his letter to the USDA. He went on to call the new guidelines “long overdue.”

More than five million individuals receiving food stamps today do not meet proper eligibility requirements, thanks to loopholes adopted by the Clinton and Obama administrations. These loopholes allow states to waive asset tests, and in turn, expand food stamp eligibility far beyond its original scope.

“Arkansas has been a national leader on welfare reform, and we’re glad to see Governor Hutchinson endorsing a rule that ensures benefits go to those who actually meet eligibility requirements,” said Sam Adolphsen, policy director at the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA). “The rule protects taxpayers from fraud and waste while ensuring the truly needy receive the assistance they need. I’m hopeful that more governors follow Arkansas’ lead and voice their support.”

FGA research shows that, in addition to preserving scarce resources for individuals who actually qualify for food stamp benefits, closing the BBCE loophole could save taxpayers up to $7 billion per year.