Legislation: Food and Agriculture Act of 1977
September 29,1977


In 1977, Bob Dole led the charge to make significant changes to the Food Stamp Program. Working with George McGovern (D-SD), Dole produced a bipartisan solution to two of the main problems associated with food stamps: cumbersome purchase requirements and lax eligibility standards. Prior to 1978, food stamp recipients were required to purchase the stamps -- an average family paying $58 for $130 worth of food stamps. Studies found that this purchase requirement was the single largest barrier to access for needy families. They succeeded in designing a program that eliminated the need for individuals to make a required minimum payment to obtain food stamp coupons – a minimum that many still could not afford. The legislation also enacted provisions that reduced fraud and abuse of the program.