GOP lawmaker proposes blocking food stamps for terrorists

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New legislation introduced in the House this week would disqualify convicted terrorists for food stamp eligibility.

The measure authored by freshman Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) would expand existing statute that already bans Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for felons with drug convictions unless states choose to waive the restrictions.

The latest farm bill enacted in 2014 further blocks nutrition assistance eligibility for people convicted of violent crimes like murder or rape if they aren’t complying with the terms of their sentence.

“Terrorist victims and their families should never be forced to fund those who harmed them,” Poliquin said in a statement.

The measure offered by Poliquin, who is considered one of the most vulnerable House GOP incumbents in this year’s election cycle, ties into legislative efforts on national security, which has remained a top issue throughout the 2016 campaign after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif.

“This has nothing to do with politics,” Poliquin told the Bangor Daily News when asked about how the proposal plays into his reelection prospects. “I cannot imagine that I’m going to be able to find a taxpayer in our 2nd District that wants to use his or her federal tax dollars to buy food stamps for accomplices to terrorist attacks here in America.”

Poliquin acknowledged in the interview that he did not know of any actual cases of terror convicts receiving food stamps, but said he wanted his measure to prevent such a scenario from happening in the future.

Poliquin’s bill so far only has one Republican cosponsor. 

- Updated at 3:01 p.m.