Press Releases

“Under this proposal, food stamp spending will average $77 billion each year for the next ten years. The average in the seven years prior to the recession was $28 billion. Is it the official view of the White House, and the Senate majority, that our economy will experience no improvement for a decade? …

“Those supporting these record increases voted down an amendment that would have simply ensured food stamps are provided only to those who meet the program’s existing eligibility requirements. Thirty-nine states have waived the eligibility rules…

“We have a duty to identify waste throughout the government, and that includes the nearly $800 billion food stamp budget. But this is a moral issue as well. Left unattended, the safety net can turn into a restraint…” 

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement today after the Senate voted to approve a farm bill that allocates 80 percent of its spending over the next ten years to the food stamp program:

“Though it is called the farm bill, a full 80 percent of the funds in this legislation are directed to food stamps. Yet the only real reductions in this bill are from farm programs while food stamps—the fastest growing major item in the entire federal budget—are permanently fixed at record levels.

Food stamp spending has quadrupled since 2001 and doubled since 2008. A program that began as a benefit for 1 in 50 Americans is now received by 1 in 7. It is the second largest of nearly 80 federal welfare programs that may provide an individual on food stamps with as much as $25,000 in yearly financial assistance for their household.

Members of the President’s party cite our dismal economic conditions as the reason why 45 million Americans are now on food stamp support. While there is no doubt that our stalled economy is part of the reason why nearly 15 million additional Americans have been placed on the food stamp rolls by this administration, there is more to the story. Food stamp spending has increased substantially every single year since 2001 regardless of whether unemployment has risen or fallen. It has increased at twice the pace of Medicaid. Under this proposal, food stamp spending will average $77 billion each year for the next ten years. The average in the seven years prior to the recession was $28 billion. Is it the official view of the White House, and the Senate majority, that our economy will experience no improvement for a decade?

Those supporting these record increases voted down an amendment that would have simply ensured food stamps are provided only to those who meet the program’s existing eligibility requirements. Thirty-nine states have waived the eligibility rules—meaning that no matter how much someone’s financial assets exceed the statutory limit, that individual can still be given the benefit.

The Senate majority also voted down an amendment preventing states from getting bonuses for swelling the rolls. This highlights another reason for the long-running increases in the food stamp budget: by waiving standards and overlooking fraud, states are able to get more federal dollars than they otherwise would. They face no economic incentive to do anything other than have more federal dollars flow into their states.

On behalf of taxpayers, and in light of our colossal debt, we have a duty to identify waste throughout the government, and that includes the nearly $800 billion food stamp budget. But this is a moral issue as well. Left unattended, the safety net can turn into a restraint. Rather than seeking to place as many Americans as possible on welfare support, our goal should instead be to help as many Americans as possible achieve financial independence.”