INDIANAPOLIS—A proposed amendment to House Bill 1001 to maintain a heightened level of SNAP benefits for Hoosiers failed in the Senate Thursday. 

Taylor's Amendment

Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, explains his proposed amendment to maintain heightened SNAP benefits. He said anyone should be able to understand that his goal is to combat food insecurity.

The bill currently sets the extra aid to be suspended on April 16, but Senate Democrats contested that decision on the basis that it’s arbitrary and early. 

Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, spoke on his proposed amendment of the bill. He said SNAP—Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—benefits should continue for Indiana’s 200,000 plus recipients until the economic hardship stemming from COVID-19 abates. 

Taylor said SNAP cards can only be used for food. They aren’t valid for purchasing shoes or any other products, he explained.

“We are literally, by setting a sunset on the enhanced benefits that these poor people receive, we are actually taking food out of them and their children’s mouths,” Taylor said. 

Bill sponsor Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, said the extra benefits were instituted in 2020, when Indiana’s employment rate was at a record low. Now, he said, the job market is doing better. 

“The facts that are before us at this time are totally different from the facts that existed back in early 2020. The decision has to be made at some point to stop,” Charbonneau said.   

Charbonneau said senators originally put the April 16 date in Senate Bill 3. That date is now being recommended in HB 1001. He said Indiana would not be unique if it set a date earlier than the federal government because several other states have already authored legislation to halt the extra benefits. 

Taylor asked Charbonneau what the qualifications are for SNAP. 

Charbonneau replied by stating that Hoosiers must have a certain income level. They don’t necessarily need to claim dependents. There are work requirements to receive the aid. 

Taylor said sending money to the working poor is justified, especially when it comes from the federal government, which makes it less of a financial burden on the state government. He continued by stating that giving working poor people a little extra help is a positive use of governmental funding. 

“This is the working poor that you’re talking about,” Taylor said. “This is the extra little guy because they’re working, and they still can’t make ends meet.”

Taylor said senators should remember that they’re not in their position to help large corporations. Working-class people should be their priority, he added.

Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis, said the federal government has pledged to give states a 60-day notice before it suspends the state of emergency, so Indiana should keep giving the benefits until they receive guidance from Washington, D.C. She said it would be a problem if Indiana were not in compliance with the national government. 

“We don’t know for sure that the public health emergency is going to end precisely on April 16,” Breaux said. “Let’s not put a date in this bill.”

Charbonneau said there is still a financial burden to the state since most Hoosiers pay federal taxes. He said money doesn’t “fall out of the sky,” so the aid flow should stop. 

The amendment failed on a roll call vote of 20-28. 

Isaac Gleitz is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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