The five-year Farm Bill passed in the House Wednesday includes Rep. Tom Reed's provision to standardize the exchange of data between assistance programs, including SNAP, in order to improve program efficiency and protect taxpayers from waste, fraud and abuse within programs.
"Taxpayers want and deserve to know that their government is making progress to streamline and improve assistance programs, helping eligible Americans receive the assistance they need while ensuring those who are not eligible are not receiving assistance inadvertently," Reed said. "With little communication between programs currently, we leave the door open to more waste and fraud within assistance programs. Our provision puts programs on the same page so that data can be shared consistently."
Reed's data standardization language was introduced in 2013 as the Standard DATA Act with Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), the Ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources. The bill calls for consistent data exchange within and across federal assistance programs to improve communication and program integrity. The language is being included in the SNAP program to coordinate efforts already underway in other programs.
"By laying the groundwork with common language and consistent data standards we set the stage so that assistance programs can better care for qualified beneficiaries and give taxpayers peace of mind their hard-earned dollars are not being wasted," Reed continued. "It's the 21st century and we have to ensure that our federal programs are operating using available technology to accurately provide benefits. That is fair to both recipients and taxpayers."
Rep. Reed voted in support of the Farm Bill to authorize farm programs for New York's 23rd district. The bill passed the House Wednesday with strong bipartisan support and a vote on the bill in the Senate is expected next week.