Biden Takes a Stand Against the GOP’s Assault on Food Stamps

Aja Koska/Getty

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.

From the very start of his administration right through the coronavirus pandemic, former President Donald Trump repeatedly moved to slash funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly called food stamps). The pillar of US anti-hunger policy, SNAP serves 41.8 million participants, more than two-thirds of whom live in households with children, seniors, or people with disabilities. In his zeal to take food away from poor families, Trump was pursuing a long-held policy priority of mainstream Republicans like former US House Speaker Paul Ryan

Now Biden is undoing some of that damage. In a Monday policy announcement—one that was effectively buried by news of chaos in Afghanistan and the resurgent pandemic—the Biden administration moved decisively in the opposite direction from Trump. Biden’s Department of Agriculture will grow SNAP in a way that will boost recipient families’ monthly benefits by 27 percent, on average, compared to pre-pandemic levels. 

The change could significantly improve the lot of struggling US households. Contrary to GOP mythology, SNAP has for years been funded at miserly levels. Before the pandemic, aid-per-recipient averaged less than $1.40 per meal—so it’s no surprise that more than half of SNAP households exhaust an entire month’s benefits within two weeks of receiving them, as a 2017 USDA study found. 

Currently, 38.6 million adult US workers, including 11.2 million parents, earn less than a living wage. As a result, SNAP has emerged as not just a key anti-hunger program for people who can’t work, but also one that “increasingly serves the working poor,” as the USDA put in a 2017 report. With Biden’s SNAP boost, more of them may now have a shot at putting enough food on the table every week of the month.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and billionaire owners wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

payment methods

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and billionaire owners wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate