Republicans Want To Make Sure Presidents Can’t Boost Food Benefits Like Joe Biden Did | EUROtoday

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WASHINGTON ― In 2021, President Joe Biden enacted the largest-ever everlasting enhance to federal meals advantages, giving the common Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients an additional $36 per individual every month.

The 21% profit enhance stands as one of many main home coverage modifications of Biden’s first time period. But it occurred at a time when many security web insurance policies had been in flux as a result of coronavirus pandemic, and it hasn’t acquired a lot consideration.

Republicans observed, nevertheless, and now they’re hoping to alter the regulation to stop a future Democratic president from making an analogous transfer.

“President Biden upended four decades of history and singlehandedly enacted a $256 billion increase in SNAP spending over a ten-year period,” House Agriculture Committee chair Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) wrote in an April op-ed outlining his plan of counterattack.

Thompson needs to make it so SNAP’s month-to-month advantages can solely be adjusted for inflation, with out regard to dietary steering or patterns of meals consumption, which had been the explanations the Biden administration used to justify the 2021 enhance. Thompson’s proposal is a part of a broader “farm bill” that will make different tweaks to each vitamin and agriculture insurance policies.

Democrats have strongly opposed Thompson’s proposal, and it’s unclear whether or not it will probably turn out to be regulation given Democratic management of the Senate and White House.

“President Biden entered office determined to rebuild our economy from the middle out and bottom up so no one is left behind.” White House spokesman Jeremy Edwards mentioned in a press release to HuffPost. “That’s why he took historic action to reduce hunger and give families more breathing room, including the largest ever permanent increase in SNAP benefits, which is helping families put healthy food on the table.”

More than 21 million households obtain SNAP advantages, distributed on debit playing cards to solely use for meals purchases at grocery shops. It’s one of many federal authorities’s largest and most responsive financial packages, and it’s a perennial matter of political debate, with Republicans pushing for stricter eligibility guidelines and complaining {that a} month-to-month meals allowance makes poor individuals unwilling to take low-wage jobs.

During a debate on federal spending final yr, Republicans pushed for stricter “work requirements” on sure SNAP recipients over age 49, and the White House agreed solely after insisting on an exception for veterans and homeless individuals. The ensuing compromise, crafted partly via direct negotiation between Thompson and Biden, will seemingly result in a web enhance in profit funds, based on an evaluation by the Congressional Budget Office.

The Biden administration’s 2021 enhance to month-to-month advantages, in the meantime, was extra vital however occurred as a number of pandemic-related modifications expired, which can have made it exhausting for SNAP recipients to note because the enhance made up for the lack of one pandemic enhance however not one other, and advantages finally declined from their 2022 excessive.

The common month-to-month profit per individual elevated from $155 in 2019 to $230 in 2022 earlier than settling at $188 this yr, based on knowledge from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Biden enhance resulted from an replace to the “Thrifty Food Plan,” the federal government’s mathematical mannequin of a nutritious diet for a low-income household, with a watch towards extra nutritious meals, together with extra fish, extra “red and orange” greens like bell peppers and carrots.

Since SNAP allotments enhance on a per-person foundation, the change was most substantial for households with youngsters, whose advantages went from round $420 to $542 on common.

“The 2021 reevaluation resulted in such a significant increase to benefits because it was catching up for almost 50 years of not adjusting benefits to reflect reality,” Katie Bergh, a senior coverage analyst with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, mentioned in an interview. “It may not have felt like a lot, because this is a permanent increase, it is having a very significant ongoing impact for families.”

The Center on Budget estimated that the 2021 change has lifted 2.4 million Americans above the federal government’s income-based poverty threshold.

Thompson mentioned his proposal would scale back SNAP spending by about $30 billion out of greater than $1 trillion over 10 years.

Democrats have panned Thompson’s farm invoice due to the vitamin coverage change.

“This farm bill makes the largest financial cut to SNAP in 30 years, and they’re doing it at a time of greatest need for this SNAP program to serve our American people,” Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) mentioned throughout a committee assembly the place Republicans accredited Thompson’s plan final month.

Thompson and different Republicans countered that advantages would proceed to go as much as preserve tempo with inflation and that their invoice wouldn’t take away the rise Biden had already added. Republicans have mentioned Biden overstepped his authority.

Thompson mentioned on the listening to, “If the benefit must be increased beyond inflation, Congress must consider and execute.”