Several states are trying to set limits on what food stamps can purchase but these attempts are running into a stonewall at President Obama’s Agriculture Department.
In Missouri, legislation was considered “to restrict benefits from being used for energy drinks, seafood, steak and other items.” In Wisconsin:
“In the original bill, the list of prohibited foods would include crab, lobster, shrimp and other shellfish,” Chakraborty explained. “However, the version that eventually passed the Assembly dialed that back. It would require at least two-thirds of all purchases made with Wisconsin’s FoodShare benefits be for beef, pork, chicken, fish, white potatoes and fresh produce. The other third can be a grab-bag.”
Even if these measures passed the legislature and were signed by the governor, they would still require a federal waiver to go into effect.
“And the U.S. Department of Agriculture has denied multiple prior bids — including in 2011, 2012 and 2013 by Illinois to ban sugar-drinks; and in 2010 by New York City over a similar measure.”
So the next time you see someone paying for live lobster or crab meat with food stamps while you clip coupons, your federal government has made that moment possible.