Unveiling Food Stamp Amendments, Sessions Outlines Moral Case For 21st Century Welfare Reform
“I have filed a modest package of food stamp reforms to the farm bill that will achieve several important goals: Save taxpayer dollars; reduce the deficit; achieve greater accountability in how.....
BigNews.Biz - Jun 10,2012 - Unveiling Food Stamp Amendments, Sessions Outlines Moral Case For 21st Century Welfare Reform
“I have filed a modest package of food stamp reforms to the farm bill that will achieve several important goals: Save taxpayer dollars; reduce the deficit; achieve greater accountability in how the program is administered; confront widespread waste; direct food stamps to those truly in need; and help more Americans achieve financial independence…
It is time to re-engage the national discussion over how the receipt of welfare benefits can become damaging, not merely to the Treasury but also to the recipient… We need to re-establish the moral principle that federal welfare should be seen as temporary assistance, not permanent support. The goal should be to help people become independent and self-sufficient. Such reforms, made sincerely and with concern for those in need, will improve America’s social, fiscal, and economic health.”
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, spoke on the Senate floor today to unveil a package of food stamp reforms that he has offered to the farm bill now under consideration in the Senate, as well as to discuss the need to address the approximately $900 billion spent annually on means-tested federal welfare programs:
Sessions’ remarks, as prepared, follow:
“Mr. President, I rise today to discuss several important amendments I have filed to the farm bill that is now before the Senate.
What might surprise many people is that the overwhelming majority of funds in the farm bill are not spent on anything to do with farms or agriculture. For instance, crop insurance is just 8 percent of the farm bill. Horticulture is less than 1 percent. But a full 80 percent of the farm bill goes to the federal food stamp program.
Yet, 83 percent of the small savings in this proposal—it contains $23 billion in cuts, none of which occur next year, out of almost $1 trillion in spending over 10 years—are taken from the farm provisions. Food stamp spending is virtually untouched.
Overall, this legislation will spend $82 billion on food stamps next year, and an estimated $770 billion over the next ten years. To put these figures in perspective, we will spend $40 billion federal dollars next year on roads and bridges.
Food stamp spending has more than quadrupled since the year 2001. It has increased 100 percent since President Obama took office.
This is not just a question of whether we have the money. We also have to ask: Is the benefit going to the right people? Is the money being expended wisely? Is it helping people become independent? Is it encouraging people to look for ways to be productive and be responsible for their families? Or does it create dependency on a series of government programs?
There are a number of reasons for the arresting trend of growth in this program. While the poor economy has undeniably increased the number of people on food stamps, this alone cannot explain the extraordinary growth in the program.