Press Releases

“In this time of fiscal crisis, and at a moment when the Obama Administration is scaling back the work requirements that were a centerpiece of welfare reform, the nation needs to review all of the nearly 80 welfare programs now administered by the federal government. We must build on the sound principles of the 1996 reform—not abandon them.” 

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement today about the need for USDA to expeditiously produce requested documents and information relating to the Department’s partnership with the Mexican government to boost food stamp enrollment:

“Even though spending on food stamps has more than doubled since 2008, and is projected to reach a record of $770 billion over the next decade, USDA’s top concern is that more people be added to the rolls. The compassionate objective is to help people transition from dependence to self-sufficiency, but USDA seems to have inverted this goal.

Revelations in recent days have established that the USDA no longer administers the food stamp program as targeted welfare assistance to those in temporary need, but rather sees maximum registration as the ultimate goal. One recruitment campaign involves a character who is persuaded to receive food stamps despite her firm insistence that her husband earns enough money to take care of the family. USDA literature cites ‘a sense that benefits are not needed’ as an obstacle to be overcome. It is in this light that one must understand the Administration’s partnership with Mexico to boost enrollment among non-citizens and migrant workers.

For a nation now $16 trillion in debt to ask the Mexican government to help foster dependency on American welfare is extreme financial recklessness. It is also clear that safeguards are lacking to prevent benefits from being extended to those here illegally. When I offered an amendment to implement SAVE to enforce existing statute, Majority Leader Reid blocked the effort. This partnership is also a retreat from the longstanding principle that immigrants who come to America will not need to rely on government support.

USDA rebuffed initial requests from my staff to hand over basic documents concerning the Administration’s partnership with Mexico to implement this program. I have now laid out in a letter precisely what information USDA needs to turn over. It should be provided at once. In this time of fiscal crisis, and at a moment when the Obama Administration is scaling back the work requirements that were a centerpiece of welfare reform, the nation needs to review all of the nearly 80 welfare programs now administered by the federal government. We must build on the sound principles of the 1996 reform—not abandon them.”

NOTE: To view the letter Sessions references in the statement, please click here.