- Associated Press - Monday, March 23, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A federal official criticized Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s stance for reforming the federal food stamps program while attending a news conference with the governor on Monday.

Audrey Rowe, administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food and nutrition service, made the comments as she and Brownback unveiled a $13.5 million federal grant to give job training to people in Kansas who receive food stamps.

She said she disagrees with the governor over a separate proposal in Congress to fund the national food stamps program through block grants to the states. Brownback supports that proposal, which Rowe said would hurt federal oversight and quality of service.

“You lose a lot of administrative efficiencies and all of the protections that individuals experience under federal law if you had a different program operating in every state,” Rowe said.

Brownback said after the news conference that he believes states could better implement a program according to their local needs.

The pilot program announced Monday would provide training and services to match food stamps recipients with jobs in 35 counties over the next three years. It’s part of $200 million in grants given out to 10 states for such programs under the 2014 federal Farm Bill.

Of Kansas’ six representatives and senators in Congress, only Republican U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran voted in favor of the 2014 Farm Bill. Brownback said he could not speak for his Republican colleague’s votes, but said the program would be a “powerful tool” in lifting Kansans out of poverty.

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