- The Washington Times - Monday, February 1, 2016

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, Maine Republican, has drafted a bill that would prohibit the federal government from giving food stamps to individuals convicted of terrorism-related crimes.

“I am shocked that our current law does not prevent the criminals who have been convicted of plotting and carrying out acts of terrorism against innocent Americans from getting welfare benefits. Terrorist victims and their families should never be forced to fund those who harmed them. This bill guarantees this will never happen,” Maine’s Second District congressman said in a statement.

While current federal law forbids individuals found guilty of violent crimes like murder and rape from receiving assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, also known as food stamps, Mr. Poliquin said his legislation would close an existing loophole that allows convicted terrorists to apply for aid.

Mr. Poliquintold the Bangor Daily News on Wednesday that he wasn’t aware of any instances in which a person convicted of terrorism received food stamps after serving time, but he wants to make sure that the issue doesn’t arise down the road.

He pointed to 49 “homegrown terrorist plotters” slated to be released from prison during the next 25 years, including former classmates of the Boston Marathon bombers who were charged with hindering law enforcement’s terror probe.

“If I were to have that conversation, I’d say go talk to the parents of the 8-year-old boy who died in Boston,” Mr. Poliquin told the Bangor Daily News. “Go talk to the parents of the 7-year-old little girl who lost a leg as a result of that bombing. Go talk to the family members of the police officer who was shot following the bombings. Ask them if they want to use their tax dollars to pay for food for the accomplices to those bombings.”

“This has nothing to do with politics,” he added. “I cannot imagine that I’m going to be able to find a taxpayer in our Second District that wants to use his or her federal tax dollars to buy food stamps for accomplices to terrorist attacks here in America.”

Mr. Poliquin is slated to introduce his No Welfare for Terrorists Act officially when the House reconvenes on Monday and told the Bangor Daily News he “cannot imagine any member of the House of Representative or the Senate not wanting to close this loophole.”

His congressional colleagues aren’t convinced just yet, however, with staffers for Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King having told the newspaper that the lawmakers want to see the full proposal before putting their weight behind it.

“While Senators Collins and King haven’t seen this bill, they certainly support commonsense solutions aimed at protecting taxpayer money and keeping Mainers safe from terrorism,” their communications staffs said in a joint statement provided to the paper.

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