Proposed Iowa SNAP bill would restrict recipients from buying meat, white bread, and American cheese

A bill being proposed by GOP lawmakers in Iowa would add additional restrictions to the state’s SNAP benefits limiting what recipients would be able to purchase. 

SNAP is a federal program that exists to assist lower-income households by helping them purchase healthy food options. 

The proposed bill would prevent recipients from being able to purchase everyday kitchen staples including white rice, rice noodles, canned vegetables, baked beans, refried beans, chili beans and even butter. 

The law would also impact SNAP recipients’ ability to purchase meat. Canned tuna and salmon would be the only allowable meat purchases. This is despite the fact that meat and poultry are a priority expenditure by SNAP households, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sliced, cubed or crumbled cheese would also be prohibited. 

The bill awaits consideration by a House subcommittee. It is currently sponsored by 39 Republican state legislators. 

GOP leaders say the money spent on SNAP could be used elsewhere while Democratic leaders decry the bill for restricting access to key items that benefit the health of low-income households.

"This bill would restrict SNAP participants’ ability to make their own food choices, take food away from Iowans, and increase hunger and food insecurity in our state," the Iowa Hunger Coalition declared in a statement last Friday in response to the GOP-backed proposal.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.