The vast majority of federal spending in the Senate farm bill, which is estimated to cost over $100 billion annually, is going toward food stamps, representing a 100 percent increase since President Barack Obama took office, according Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions.
“This legislation will spend $82 billion on food stamps next year, and an estimated $770 billion over the next ten years. To put these figures in perspective, we will spend $40 billion federal dollars next year on roads and bridges,” said Sessions, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.
“Food stamp spending has more than quadrupled since the year 2001. It has increased 100 percent since President Obama took office,” he said.
Federal funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program has doubled since 2008 which accounts for 80 percent of the farm bill’s cost, according to an analysis of Congressional Budget Office and White House Office of Management and Budget data conducted by the Senate Budget Committee’s Republican staff.
Crop insurance, commodities and conservation make up the remaining 20 percent of the legislation.
In 2008 the SNAP program cost taxpayers $39 billion, according the analysis.
Debate on the five-year farm bill began on Thursday in the Senate.
“When the food stamp program was first expanded nationwide, about 1 in 50 Americans received food stamp benefits. Today, nearly one in 7 Americans are on food stamps,” Sessions said in a floor speech.
One of the amendments to the bill that Sessions has proposed would require states to verify if individuals receiving food stamps are legally residing in the U.S.
“This amendment would simply require the government to use a simple program called SAVE, similar to the popular E-verify system, to ensure those adults receiving benefits are in fact lawfully in the country,” he said.
“This is the commonsense thing to do at a time when we have to borrow 40 cents for every dollar the government spends.”
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