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Welfare's Cost: $3.7 Trillion Over Past Five Years

Image: Welfare's Cost: $3.7 Trillion Over Past Five Years Sen. Jeff Sessions

By Andrea Billups   |  

The cost of funding welfare programs reached $3.7 trillion over the past five years, research by the Senate Budget Committee confirms, citing figures from the federal Office of Management and Budget.

The cumulative spending on welfare and poverty assistance programs was nearly five times the amount spent on NASA, education, and transportation combined, Senate Republicans said in announcing the grim figures on welfare's growth, The Weekly Standard reported Wednesday.

"We have just concluded the 5th fiscal year since President Obama took office. During those five years, the federal government has spent a total $3.7 trillion on approximately 80 different means-tested poverty and welfare programs," wrote Republicans on the committee, under ranking member Jeff Sessions.

"The common feature of means-tested assistance programs is that they are graduated based on a person's income and, in contrast to programs like Social Security or Medicare, they are a free benefit and not paid into by the recipient," they wrote.

Spending for NASA, education, and transportation totaled $797.4 billion, the committee reported, adding, "The enormous sum spent on means-tested assistance is nearly five times greater than the combined amount spent on NASA, education, and all federal transportation projects over that time."

Committee members said even the $3.7 trillion figure is not the entire amount spent on poverty, "as states contribute more than $200 billion each year to this federal nexus — primarily in the form of free low-income healthcare."

Obama has drawn criticism from detractors in the past as the "welfare president," with food-stamp assistance growing significantly under his administration. From 2008 through December 2012, enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has risen 70 percent to 47.8 million participants, Watchdog.org reported.

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The cost of funding welfare programs reached $3.7 trillion over the past five years, research by the Senate Budget Committee confirms, citing figures from the federal Office of Management and Budget. The cumulative spending on welfare and poverty assistance programs was...
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