Moving Food Stamps to HHS Among Delayed Agency Reorganization Proposals

According to Government Executive, the release of the long-awaited reform plans expected from each federal agency is slated for later this month.

The plans were originally submitted in June of last year and scheduled to be finalized by last September. GovExec notes that “officials at that time said the documents would remain in a ‘pre-decisional’ state—and therefore not subject to public scrutiny—until the release of the fiscal 2019 budget in February. Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, later told Congress that the timeline had been moved to May of 2018.

Reportedly one of the “biggest proposals is an effort to greatly expand the” Department of Health and Human Services, “particularly the $70 billion food stamp program, which currently falls under the jurisdiction of the Agriculture Department.”

This change would mean the food stamp program would be housed under the same body (HHS) already responsible for other entitlement programs including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The move is reportedly consistent with an idea “floated in the Heritage Foundation’s own government reorganization proposal last year.”

In arguing for the change, the Heritage Foundation wrote that USDA “has veered off its mission by working extensively on issues unrelated to agriculture,” a fact they say is “mostly due to the nutrition programs.”

“By moving this welfare function to HHS, the USDA will be better able to work on agricultural issues impacting all Americans,” Heritage concluded.

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