Entries in Food Stamps (5)


Cory Booker’s Food Stamp Challenge Starts with a Grocery Bill

Cindy Ord/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Cory Booker posted a photo of a crumpled receipt Monday morning to Facebook and Twitter.  The Newark, N.J., mayor wasn’t filing expenses; he was showing supporters what he’ll be eating for the next week as he takes on the food stamp challenge.  

Starting on Tuesday and going until Dec. 12, Booker will eat only what he can buy with $29.78, which is slightly more than the $28 individuals receiving food stamps tend to spend on average.

Beans, whole corn and a red delicious apple were a few of the items visible on the receipt.  The list doesn’t include any meat products, as Booker is a vegetarian.  He also doesn’t drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, but those products aren’t covered under food stamps anyway.

Booker, known for his tendency to respond to residents over Twitter, agreed to the challenge after sparring with other tweeters over the necessity of social programs such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, more commonly called food stamps.

A study released on Tuesday said almost a third of American adults went hungry or worried about someone close to them going hungry this year.

Booker pledged to document his experience living on the food budget of the average individual receiving SNAP benefits on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the video-hosting site he co-founded, WayWire.

Throughout the day Monday, Booker retweeted tips from followers on how to survive the week, living without the luxuries Booker is accustomed to.

“Dont let yourself get dehydrated! Drink lots of water, you have no fluids on here,” tweeted @LilMama82310.

“I read your receipt, and I think you are going to be hungry,” @AmyLofton warned.

“U may be right,” Booker tweeted back.  “We will see.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Newt Gingrich Defends Food Stamps vs. Paychecks Charge

Peter Foley/Bloomberg/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Newt Gingrich defended his critique of President Obama as the “greatest food stamp president” in history, dismissing the president’s charge that Gingrich was tapping into “worst instincts” with the claim.

In an exclusive interview last week with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Obama responded to Gingrich’s regular campaign trail refrain on food stamps, with the president saying that “the American people are going to make a judgment about, you know, who’s trying to bring the country together and who’s dividing it, who is, you know, tapping into some of our worst instincts.”

On This Week on Sunday, Gingrich strongly disputed the charge, saying that “for a president who runs around the country attacking people and who runs around the country being divisive to describe worst instincts is to describe a large part of his own presidency.”

“I described something which is factually true,” Gingrich added. “His failed economic policies have forced more Americans to apply for food stamps than any president in history.”

Gingrich said the “paychecks vs. food stamps” comparison he regularly makes will continue to be part of his campaign, despite the recent criticism that the charge has racial undertones.

“I think he doesn’t want to defend his record of killing jobs. He doesn’t want to defend his record of putting people on food stamps,” Gingrich said. “But paychecks vs. food stamps is a totally legitimate choice to offer the American people and one which I am determined to make a major part of the fall campaign.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Congressman, Family Live on Food Stamp Budget for a Week

Courtney [dot] House [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- Calling proposals to cut food stamp funding “tearing the safety net to shreds,” Rep. Joe Courtney decided one week ago that it wasn’t enough just to disagree.

For the past week and concluding on Wednesday, Courtney, D-Conn., along with his wife Audrey and 16-year-old daughter Elizabeth, have been living on a food stamp budget, experiencing what little can actually be bought for $32.59 per person, per week -- or $1.59 per meal -- and blogging and tweeting about the process.

The week is called taking the “SNAP Challenge” after the national food stamp program run through the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- that provides low-income households with healthful foods within reach out of their budgets.

Citing proposals submitted to a congressional debt-reduction supercommittee to decrease funding for SNAP, as well as outspoken Rep. Paul Ryan’s, R-Wis., budget plan and the cuts it would bring, Courtney said, “People [have got] to remember we’re going through an economy with 9 percent unemployment. … When that happens, really by and large, the only public assistance that is left is SNAP.”

Courtney added that “the reality of people depending on SNAP is obvious in the near future, and going backwards is going to be … a real strain on the safety net.”

ABC News spoke to the Congressman while he was on his third cup of tea Wednesday morning with the same tea bag.

Saying that the week has been “harder” than he had imagined,  he added, “You definitely learn some of these tricks to stretch your $4-a-day allotment.”

In addition to shopping at different supermarkets than usual to find better deals, he cited switching from whole grain to white tortillas for enchiladas, buying produce of a lesser quality as long as it was cheaper, and going a bit hungry just to stretch the money out throughout the week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions: Food Stamps ‘Out of Control’

US Senate(WASHINGTON) -- The number of Americans receiving federal aid for food has skyrocketed in recent years, partly from need and partly, according to Sen. Jeff Sessions, because of abuse.

Food stamps, he told ABC News' Top Line Thursday, are a symptom of a government run out of control.

“No program in our government has surged out of control more dramatically than food stamps,” said Sessions, R-Ala. “And now, nothing is being done [about it]. Nobody is looking under the hood. It had doubled in the last three years. It had quadrupled from 20 billion to 80 billion in the last 10 years.

“When it started,” he said, “it was one in 50 people on the food stamp program. Now, it’s one in seven. Lottery winners, multimillion-dollar lottery winners are getting food stamps because that money is considered to be an asset, not an income.”

But for every lottery winner, there are many more of the 46 million Americans -- one in seven -- who receive federal food aid who really need it. The numbers have, indeed, skyrocketed in recent years, from 26 million to more than 46 million since the recession began.

ABC News pointed out to Sessions that for every lottery winner abusing the food stamp system, there are families that likely need the help.

“Well, look, do you think there are four times as many people that need food stamps today as they did in 2001?” he asked. “This year, they are proposing another 14-percent increase in food stamps without any real reform to understand how it is that it surged so dramatically. We cannot do this. We don’t have the money. If Congress doesn’t understand that we can’t continue to double the food stamp program every three years, they don’t understand how deeply we are impacted by the debt. The debt is already pulling down economic growth, costing jobs. We need people working with jobs, not receiving food stamps."

Sessions wants to tighten restrictions on who can get food stamps and has proposed defeating a planned $9 billion increase to the program.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Congress Mulls Cuts to Food Stamps Program

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Congress is under pressure to cut the rapidly rising costs of the federal government's food stamps program at a time when a record number of Americans are relying on it.

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday will review the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill for the Department of Agriculture that includes $71 billion for the agency's "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program." That’s $2 billion less than what President Obama requested but a 9 percent increase from 2011, which, critics say, is too large given the sizeable budget deficit.

A record number of Americans -- about 14 percent -- now rely on the federal government's food stamps program, and its rapid expansion in recent years has become a politically explosive topic.

More than 44.5 million Americans received the so-called SNAP benefits in March, an 11 percent increase from one year ago and nearly 61 percent higher than the same time four years ago.

Nearly 21 million households are reliant on food stamps.

Opponents of the program argue that money from the food stamps budget -- with what they call its increasingly lax requirements -- needs to be shifted to other programs such as education and child nutrition. The program's supporters argue that at a time of economic decline, such welfare programs are even more important to try to keep Americans from spiraling into poverty.

The cost of the food stamps program has increased rapidly since it was established by Congress in 1964. It cost taxpayers more than $68 billion last year, double the amount in 2007.

Nutrition assistance now accounts for more than half -- or about 67 percent -- of the USDA's budget, compared with 26 percent in 1980. That shift in focus, critics say, is ineffective because it hasn't put a dent in poverty or hunger in the United States while taking away money from other programs, specifically agricultural programs that should be the main focus of the agency.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio