On Wednesday, President Barack Obama’s White House politicized Thanksgiving to promote the reauthorization of the SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) or “food stamps” as part of the farm bill at a time when a record number of Americans are receiving assistance.
In an email, the White House urged Americans sitting down for Thanksgiving Dinner to remember: “For decades, Congress has authorized SNAP in a bipartisan fashion through the Farm Bill. They don’t have to do it in a way that hurts children, seniors, veterans, and vulnerable families. Learn more, and pass it on.”
The White House linked to a report about how SNAP is boosting the economy and accused Republicans of undermining the program’s reauthorization.
Congress could not agree on a bipartisan farm bill because Democrats would not agree to make reforms to SNAP. Robert Rector, the godfather of the landmark welfare reform bill in the 1990s, has suggested the food stamp program be reformed by moving the program from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Health and Human Services, because “the food stamp program is a means-tested welfare or anti-poverty program, not an agricultural program,” and “the USDA’s expertise is in farming, not welfare.”
He has also recommended means-testing, anti-fraud measures, drug testing, and converting the program to a “work activation” program while ensuring benefits do not go to illegal immigrants.
As Breitbart News has reported, food stamp enrollments “have remained over 47 million for an unprecedented 13 consecutive months.” And that number has indeed benefited a certain sector of the economy. As the nonpartisan Government Accountability Institute (GAI) discovered, corporations are also incentivized to pressure the government to maximize the number of people on food stamps because of the profits companies like J.P. Morgan make from EBT card transaction fees.
The program also has been riddled with fraud, and those with EBT cards have often offered to sell them for cash on social media sites like Twitter.