Maine Gov. Paul LePage doesn’t want his state allowing the purchase of candy and sugary drinks with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
The governor sent a June 17 letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) demanding that Maine be allowed to forbid using food stamps for certain foods or the state will stop administrating the program.
“It’s time for the federal government to wake up and smell the energy drinks,” wrote LePage in the letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Doubtful that it will, I will be pursuing options to implement reform unilaterally, or cease Maine’s administration of the food stamp program altogether. You maintain such a broken program that I do not want my name attached to it.”
While the federal government funds SNAP, states hand out the monthly benefits.
Rep. Chellie Pingree expressed how harmful pulling out of SNAP could be for Maine residents.
“We are literally talking about taking the food off the table of Maine families struggling to make ends meet,” she said. “SNAP is a program funded by the federal government, but the law is clear—it’s up to the states to run it. If Maine were to pull out of SNAP, then Maine people would not have access to it. Families that depend on SNAP—seniors, children, veterans—would go hungry. This is not how we treat each other in Maine.”