GOP senator: Food stamp spending to remain double pre-recession levels

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A new chart release by Republican Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ office Thursday shows that projected food stamp spending will remain double what it was prior to the recession.

The chart, created by Republican staffers on the Senate Budget Committee using data from the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office, shows that from 2001 to 2007 the average cost of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the food stamp program, was $28 billion.

The cost of the program from 2013 to 2021 is projected to average $77 billion, according to their chart.

See the chart:

SNAP Pre-Recession Chart

SNAP spending has more than doubled since 2008 and quadrupled since 2001.

“There are nearly 80 means-tested federal welfare programs and, according to the Census Bureau, nearly 110 million people in the United States receive benefits from at least one of them that collectively cost taxpayers $1 trillion annually. Converted to cash, that would be enough to mail $60,000 to each household living underneath the poverty line,” the staffers explained Thursday in a press release, adding that SNAP represents the second largest welfare program.

“Total spending on food stamps is projected to be $760 billion over the next 10 years. By contrast, over the 2003-2012 period we spent less than $480 billion on food stamps,” they added.

Sessions, the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, has been a vocal critic of the expansion of the food stamp program, which has reached record participation rates in recent years and months.

The Alabama senator has particularly focused on the Agriculture Department’s aggressive outreach efforts to enroll more people in the nutrition assistance program, including advertising enrollment as an economic stimulus, instructing outreach administrators how to “overcome the word ‘no'” and has given an award to a social services department for overcoming “mountain pride.”

The Senate farm bill would cut roughly half of one percent from the SNAP budget, or $400 million a year from a roughly $80 billion annual cost.

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