Tuesday, December 15, 2015
RYAN WANTS TO BLOCK GRANT THE ENTIRE SAFETY NET
House Speaker Paul Ryan is again calling for combining many safety net programs into a mega-block grant to states. Ryan made a similar proposal in 2014. Then, his “Opportunity Grant” proposal would have consolidated 11 programs—from SNAP to housing vouchers, childcare, and the Community Development Block Grant—into a single block grant. He proposed converting SNAP, the nation’s basic food assistance safety net, from an entitlement that responds automatically to increased need into part of a block grant that gives each state fixed funding for the year and, thus, can’t respond in the same way. This would be a serious problem when need rises, such as during economic downturns or when states or localities experience events such as plant closings. Most of the mega-block grant would be funded with money now going to SNAP and low-income rent assistance. By providing some people with more services, Ryan’s plan would likely require cutting assistance that helps poor families put food on the table or keep a roof over their head. And, some of the service programs to which funds would likely be shifted have higher administrative costs than SNAP and rental voucher programs, so less would remain for basic assistance to needy families.
Source: Center for Budget & Policy Priorities, 12/3/15, Safety Net Block Grant