WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Departmental Operations, Nutrition and Foreign Agriculture and a leading congressional critic of food stamp waste, fraud, and abuse, today announced that his legislation encouraging stepped-up USDA inspections of stores that accept food stamps has saved taxpayers millions of dollars.
Last year, as part of the Welfare Reform Bill, Congressman Goodlatte successfully offered an amendment encouraging the USDA to visit and to inspect every store that had applied to participate in the food stamp program. This morning, at a hearing before Goodlatte's subcommittee, a representative from the USDA's Office of Inspector General, testified that such inspection efforts have resulted in savings of "millions of dollars."
"Every criminal who trafficks in food stamps is stealing the tax dollars of hard-working Americans and those who struggle to put a square meal on the table. Our efforts to encourage government inspection of food stamp stores have begun to pay off, but waste and abuse still run rampant in the food stamp program," said Goodlatte.
"In the last two years alone, we have kicked 20,000 stores off the food stamp program, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. I will continue to do everything in my power to root out food stamp waste, fraud, and abuse," said Goodlatte.
At the start of his testimony today, Craig Beauchamp, of the USDA's Office of Inspector General, praised Goodlatte for his efforts to root out ineligible and dishonest stores that accept food stamps. Since the USDA began sweeps of stores that accept food stamps in 1995, the number of authorized retailers has declined from 208,000 to 188,000.
Goodlatte has long led congressional efforts to end food stamp waste, fraud, and abuse. In addition to his welfare reform food stamp initiative last year, Goodlatte's H.R. 1000 - a bill to end prisoner participation in the food stamp program - passed the House of Representatives on April 8th by a vote of 409-0. Goodlatte has pledged to continue to use his subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the food stamp program, to aggressively pursue food stamp waste and fraud.
Goodlatte represents Virginia's Sixth Congressional District, which includes Roanoke, Lynchburg, and the Shenandoah Valley, in the U.S. House of Representatives.