As House and Senate negotiators meet Wednesday for the first joint talks on a bill that includes sharp cuts to food-stamp funding, an open question is whether lawmakers will get serious about targeting fraud in the massive program.
A recent inspector general audit suggests a full-blown crackdown on fraud could save $222 million a year.
The amount appears relatively small considering the government pays out roughly $70 billion in annual food stamps benefits. But negotiators will likely consider every penny of potential savings as they try to bridge the gap between the GOP-led House’s proposed $40 billion cut and the Democrat-led Senate’s $4.5 billion cut.
Food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, are part of the larger farm bill but are being dealt with through the House’s separate Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity bill.