Having solved domestic problems like inflation and foreign problems like the complete and total collapse of Afghanistan in minutes after the U.S. withdrew from the country, President Biden is now focused on offering the largest long-term increase in food stamp benefits in the program’s history.
The program adds “billions of dollars in costs” to the government, Bloomberg noted in a writeup this weekend. But, in Biden’s defense, what are dollars anymore, after all?
Benefits are set to rise more than 25% from pre-pandemic levels for some 42 million people enrolled in the program. Average monthly benefits will rise $36 per person, from $121, according to the report.
Yet despite the rise, there are still “anti-hunger advocates” that believe it isn’t enough. The Agriculture Department is responsible for the hike in benefits – which can be done without congressional approval – but adjusting the estimated costs of food. The USDA makes a “shopping list” to determine benefits which, when updated, can adjust the amount of benefits issued to recipients.
The basket of food items used for the list was started in 1961 and then updated in 1975. Its latest review was in 2006.
Benefits were set to drop prior to the planned update as a result of a September 30 expiration of a 15% boost in pandemic relief.
Even with the boost, the USDA budget for a family of four amounts to about $22 in food per day.
As Bloomberg notes, food stamps used to be bipartisan common ground, but have since “evolved into a partisan flashpoint”.
Biden’s plans stand at odds with how President Trump attempted to limit eligibility for the aid. Trump’s attempts were overturned by courts.