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Senate panel would ban food stamps to Iowans not paying child support

DES MOINES — Seven Republicans in the Iowa Senate have voted to deny food stamp benefits to parents who aren’t making an attempt to pay child support.

The seven Republicans on the Senate Labor Committee also have endorsed quarterly income checks to make sure people on Medicaid and food stamps are eligible for the assistance. The plan also calls for checking to ensure people aren’t getting welfare benefits from the State of Iowa if they move out of state.

“Iowa taxpayers should be defended. Not simply: ‘Oh, you don’t qualify anymore,’ but no, we’re actually going to go and look for people who are taking your money and using it incorrectly,” said Senator Jason Schultz, a Republican from Schleswig who is chairman of the Senate Labor Committee. “That’s not asking too much.”

The four Democrats on the committee opposed both bills. Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, said it’s “pretty punitive” to require quarterly income checks for low-income elderly and disabled Iowans who’re on Medicaid.

“I think this program is really to try to hassle people, to get ’em to fall through the cracks and kick ’em off of a program that might be critical to their almost very existence,” Dotzler said.

Another Democrat said he’s no fan of “dead beat dads” who aren’t paying child support, but he suspects some of those fathers are living in other homes with other kids who’d suffer if the household loses food stamps benefits.

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