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Feds Spend $110 Billion on 'Food Assistance' Per Year

8:16 AM, Dec 14, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The federal government is now spending $110 billion on "all food assistance" per year, according to new analysis by the minority side of the Senate Budget Committee. The federal dollars spent on these programs has risen by nearly $70 billion in just ten years. 

Here's a chart from the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee, showing how spending has increased over the last dozen years:

The $110 billion is spread across nearly 80 programs, including food stamps. 

"The federal government administers more than a dozen nutrition support programs in addition to food stamps," the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee explain. "A family of four could receive $9,000 or more in benefits per year through these various programs (in addition to other means-tested support like housing, TANF, and cash welfare). USDA, the agency that administers most of them, has actively tried to expand enrollment in food stamps and other nutrition programs even further—including among those who explicitly say they do not need financial assistance. For example, the agency has produced training materials to help recruitment workers 'overcome the word "No," and even goes so far as to suggest that people who choose not to sign up for food stamps are hurting their communities: 'Each $5 dollars in new SNAP benefits generates almost twice that amount in economic activity for the community… Everyone wins when eligible people take advantage of benefits to which they are entitled.'"

The committee continues: "In 2009, the stimulus bill waived the work requirement for food stamps, which was originally put in place as part of the successful 1996 welfare reform. This was intended to be temporary, but USDA has continued to issue waivers to almost every state in the years since then.

"Expanded enrollment and loosened eligibility standards have not reduced poverty as proponents intended, however. Compassion necessitates reform, which will result in more work, more prosperity, and more people taking care of themselves."

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