Tags: Food | Stamp | Use | Record

Food-Stamp Use Climbs to Record 46.7 Million, Reviving Campaign Issue

Tuesday, 04 Sep 2012 11:35 AM

Food-stamp use reached a record 46.7 million in June, the government said, as Democrats prepare to nominate President Barack Obama for a second term with the economy as a chief issue in the campaign.

Participation was up 0.4 percent from May and 3.3 percent higher than a year earlier and has remained greater than 46 million all year as the unemployment rate stayed higher than 8 percent. New jobless numbers will be released Sept. 7.

“Unemployment is stubbornly stuck,” making it difficult to significantly reduce the number of food-stamp recipients, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an interview last month. “While people are going back to work, and there are jobs being added, they aren’t being added at a clip that is as robust as anybody wants.”

Editor's Note: Obama Donor Banned This Video But You Can Watch it Here

Food-stamp spending, which has more than doubled in four years to a record $75.7 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2011, is the USDA’s biggest annual expense. Republicans in Congress have criticized the cost of the program, and the House budget plan approved in April sponsored by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the party’s vice-presidential nominee, would cut expenses by $33 billion over 10 years.

Cuts Planned

Reductions to the program have also emerged as a point of contention in debate over a farm bill to replace current law that expires Sept. 30. The U.S. Senate in June passed a plan that would lower expenditures by $4 billion over 10 years, while the House Agriculture Committee the following month backed a $16 billion cut.

The report shows California with the most recipients, 4.012 million, a 0.8 percent gain from the previous month and 7.3 percent more than the previous year. Texas had the second-highest number of recipients, while down 0.4 percent from the previous month and 1.4 percent lower than a year earlier.

Louisiana and North Carolina, where Democrats are convening this week to renominate Obama, had the biggest monthly gains in enrollment, 1.3 percent. Enrollment fell the most in Utah, down 1.4 percent from May, followed by Idaho and Ohio.

Spending on what’s officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program totaled $6.21 billion in June, 0.4 percent higher than the previous month and 2.8 percent more than a year earlier. The record is $6.26 billion spent in September 2011.

Editor's Note: Obama Donor Banned This Video But You Can Watch it Here

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