The Missouri House has passed a proposal to require parents receiving food stamps to comply with work requirements or lose benefits.
The Republican-dominated chamber voted largely on party lines Tuesday 107-43 to send the bill to the Senate. The measure from GOP Representative Hannah Kelly of Mountain Grove would require able-bodied parents enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to seek work or job training.
People who fail to meet federal work requirements would be disqualified from the program for three months for the first violation, six months for a second violation and two years for a third infraction. Supporters of the measure including Concerned Women For America of Missouri and the Koch Brothers-funded Americans For Prosperity say that pushing people to work will make them less dependent on government help. Opponents including Empower Missouri and the American Heart Association claim children will be punished for the mistake of parents.
Democrats were unconvinced that a provision in the bill to preserve children’s food stamp benefits would effectively keep them from harm. Similar legislation in the Senate was pulled after contentious floor debate. That measure would carry a lifetime disqualification for a third violation of work requirements.