The omnibus spending bill does not defund the Department of Agriculture’s controversial advertising and outreach campaigns — including a partnership with the Mexican government — aimed at promoting food-stamp use.
Instead, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers is “strongly” encouraging the department to stop those activities.
In an explanatory statement offered in conjunction with the spending bill, Rogers lays out the concern about the use of taxpayer dollars to fund advertising, outreach and the department’s decade-long partnership with the Mexican government aimed at promoting food stamps.
“There is concern about the use of valuable tax dollars to promote enrollment of SNAP through radio, television and other advertisements as well as outreach activities with foreign governments to encourage the use of SNAP,” Rogers writes.
“USDA is strongly encouraged to cease these types of government-sponsored recruitment activities,” he said.
And while there is technically nothing in the bill that would eliminate these activities, the appropriator’s summary of the legislation asserts that it includes “Requirements for the secretary of agriculture to help weed out and eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in the SNAP program – including a directive to ban fraudulent vendors, and a prohibition on advertisements or outreach with foreign governments;”
House Appropriations Committee spokeswoman Jennifer Hing told The Daily Caller that the committee “for practical purposes” considers the language in Rogers’ explanatory statement to be “a ‘directive’ to ‘ban.’”
When asked if the explanatory statement is legally binding, Hing replied, “It is binding in that their future budget could hinge on compliance.”
Still, a budget committee GOP aide told TheDC that the statement has no force of law and that funding will continue for these promotions, including on foreign soil.
The omnibus allots $82,169,945,000 for the SNAP, including $71,884,955,000 for benefits.