Food assistance program bloated to $110 billion

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A decade ago, the federal government spent $43 billion on food assistance. That figure is is now projected to be $113 billion in 2013, funding 80 programs overall, says Sen. Jeff Sessions, a ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.

USDA, the agency that administers most of them, actively seeks to expand enrollment in food stamps and other nutrition programs, even among those who don’t need it — suggesting in their outreach materials that those who turn down assistance could be hurting their communities.

The Alabama Republican also faults the 2009 stimulus bill that waived the work requirement for food stamps, a condition originally included as part of welfare reform 13 years earlier.

Expanded enrollment and loosened eligibility standards have not reduced poverty as proponents intended, Mr. Sessions points out. “Compassion necessitates reform, which will result in more work, more prosperity, and more people taking care of themselves,” the lawmaker notes.

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