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Proposed Iowa bill would change what families can purchase with SNAP benefits

House File 3 also proposes new requirements for those applying for these benefits.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Legislators in Iowa's House of Representatives have proposed changes to who qualifies for food assistance and what items can be purchased. 

House File 3 would add new requirements for Iowans applying for public assistance benefits, such as requiring that the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services conduct an asset test on all members of the household before rewarding SNAP benefits. 

That means the state would take note of property, like cars or boats, while approving or denying benefits. 

"It's these entitlement programs. They're the ones that are growing within the budget, and are putting pressure on us being able to fund other priorities," said Republican House Speaker Pat Grassley. "And so I think it's time for us to take a serious look at what they are."

The Republican-backed bill would also limit SNAP users to only what's allowed on the approved list for the Women, Infants and Children program. Things like fresh meat and white bread would not be available to low-income, older and disabled Iowans who rely on the SNAP program. 

Democrats have shared concerns over the bill, specifically that provision that would limit the list of eligible food items. 

The bill was introduced to the Health and Human Services subcommittee on Jan. 11. 

Read the full text of House File 3 below

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