President Joe Biden’s efforts to advance government dependence continues as his administration announces it will permanently increase food stamps, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, by 25 percent.
Some 42 million Americans who are already using SNAP will get the increased benefit beginning in October.
The move comes as a 15 percent increase put in place to help during the coronavirus pandemic is set to expire at the end of September.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s made the announcement about SNAP, saying the increase “will do a better job of providing healthy food for low-income families.”
“Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, I think there’s a shared understanding of the importance of this program,” Vilsack said in a conference call with reporters, the Associated Press (AP) reported:
The aid boost is being packaged a major revision to the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan, which estimates the cost to purchase groceries for a family of four and guides the way the government calculates benefits. In practical terms, the average monthly per-person benefits for qualified recipients will rise from $121 to $157.
The increase is projected to cost an additional $20 billion per year, but it won’t have to be approved by Congress. A farm law passed in 2018 by the then-GOP led Congress and signed by former President Donald Trump already directed the department to reassess the Thrifty Food Plan.
Activists say the previous levels of pre-pandemic SNAP assistance simply weren’t enough, forcing many households to choose cheaper, less nutritious options or simply go hungry as the funds ran low toward the end of the month.
The AP interviewed activists who believe in big government and who praised the taxpayer-funded expansion, including Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America.
He described it as “a huge victory in the fight against hunger and for the tens of millions of Americans facing food insecurity.”
“It will allow families to purchase nutritious foods, which is important to promote health and reduce diet-related chronic conditions,” Ann Veneman, who served as agriculture secretary for former President George W. Bush, said in a statement representing the Bipartisan Policy Council.
Vilsack said while this handout is not directly related to coronavirus, he believes the pandemic led to more people relying on the government.
“A lot of people who thought they’d never take part in the SNAP program found themselves in need,” Vilsack said. “The pandemic sort of shocked people out of the belief that this was a program for someone else.”
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