JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Jay Nixon is withdrawing a proposed rule change with the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules that would have eliminated a Federal waiver that Missouri received for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). The waiver has been in place since 2009 and, in Missouri, allowed about 58,000 18-50 year-olds with no dependents to collect SNAP benefits without the requirement of employment or enrollment in a job training program.
The waiver was designed during 2009 to help states through the recession. Nixon announced earlier this month Missouri no longer needed the waiver and he was submitting a rule change ending it. The announcement drew criticism from Nixon’s own party, particularly within the black caucus.
Nixon also drew some criticism from Republicans, not for reducing a welfare program, but for using Federal budget uncertainty as justification while also supporting the expansion of Medicaid, an expansion largely based on the promise of federal dollars for several budget cycles.
Nixon cited concerns over decreasing Federal dollars for the program as his main reason for eliminating the waiver. The announcement today cites the budget agreement reached by Congress that averted the debt ceiling and mandated a budget conference committee before the end of the year.
“With greater certainty about what the federal funding level for the food stamp program will be after last week’s budget agreement, we have made a determination that the appropriate course of action is to maintain the policy that is currently in place,” Nixon says in the press release.