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SNAP bill moves through subcommittee, but without WIC-based changes

Local 5 News sat down with a Newton woman relying on SNAP, who was concerned about how the initial proposal would change her life.

NEWTON, Iowa — House File 3 is working its way through the Iowa House and aims to provide sweeping reforms to how Iowa handles its SNAP benefits program. 

One of the changes to receive the most attention would have restricted the foods allowed under SNAP to those allowed under WIC benefits, meaning recipients would not have been able to buy fresh meats but only canned fish. 

It would have also restricted white bread purchases. 

During a Health and Human Services subcommittee meeting on Thursday, Rep. Thomas Jeneary, R - Le Mars proposed those restrictions be changed to only limiting soda and candy purchases with SNAP. 

Doris Cude lives in Newton on a fixed income and says she relies on SNAP. 

"I look for bargains, like the hind chicken hind quarters, lots of times you can get them on sale, 49 cents a pound," she told Local 5. "They went up to $1.49 I didn't buy any I just waited because I keep a stash. I got my little freezer."

Cude panicked reading the initial proposal from lawmakers. With her food allergies and insensitivities, she says her food options would have been extremely limited. 

"You've got canned fish, you've got beans? Is that your protein? Some of those I can't eat," said Cude. "I can't eat peanut butter and beans. Fish makes me feel bad."

Cude felt like it wasn't only her favorite foods on the chopping block, but her dignity as well. 

"We would be getting crumbs," she added. "That's where it puts us as the dogs with crumbs under the table. That's pretty blunt, but that's fine. We will no longer be able to go get it Normal people food we would be given the crumbs that they see fit that would keep us alive, but not living."

Lawmakers scrapped the WIC component during Thursday's meeting, and HF3 will next go before the full Health and Human Services Committee.

A spokesperson for the House GOP said the WIC element was a starting point and always flexible to change.

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