House GOP To Seek Ban On Pop, Candy Purchases With SNAP Benefits

Des Moines, Iowa — A key Republican lawmaker says the Iowa House will not move forward with a proposal that would have prevented Iowans from using government food assistance to buy things like fresh meat, butter, or flour.

Representative Ann Meyer of Fort Dodge says they’ll instead rewrite the bill to try to bar SNAP recipients from buying candy and soda.

The federal government has twice denied Maine’s request to prohibit food assistance benefits from being used to buy sugar-sweetened drinks or candy. The beverage industry successfully blocked attempts to include the prohibition in the 2018 Farm Bill, where the rules for what is commonly called food stamp rules are written.

Iowa Hunger Coalition chair Luke Elzinga says he’s glad the severe restrictions on how poor Iowans may use food assistance are being removed, but he’s concerned about other parts of the bill, like asset limits which would make it hard for families with two vehicles to qualify for food assistance.

A public subcommittee hearing on the bill is scheduled for today (Thursday) at the Iowa Capitol.