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On House File 613

By Co-Chairs Eddie Etsey and Karen Shemanski

As co-chairs of the board of CommUnity, we write in opposition to House File 613, legislation that would dramatically cut food assistance to Iowans, rejecting federal money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated for Iowa.

CommUnity is a non-profit providing support through Crisis Services, Food Bank, and Financial Support programs, including the 988 mental health services line. The need for CommUnity’s services spiked in the pandemic. The need for food assistance remains. We need financial help, not House File 613.

House File 613 rejects money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in numerous ways. It creates additional eligibility requirements to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), some of which make an IRS audit look easy. It also restricts the foods Iowans can use SNAP to purchase. As filed, House File 613 would even prohibit the use of SNAP to buy American cheese, canned fruits and vegetables, or any fresh meat.

SNAP is 100% federal funded. The administrative costs of SNAP are shared 50-50 by the state and federal governments. By restricting Iowans eligible as well as the foods, House File 613 rejects 100% federally funded SNAP money designated for Iowa.  Additionally, by creating additional eligibility requirements, House File 3 complicates SNAP implementation, driving up costs on Iowa state government – admin costs not covered 100% by the federal government. House File 613 will cost Iowa taxpayers.

House File 613 doesn’t make any sense. Please take action. Call your legislator, write a letter to the editor, and donate to your local food pantry.