As Hunger Swells, Food Stamps Become a Partisan Flash Point

Source: The New York Times - View Original Article
Published: May 06, 2020
Bias Rating:

86% Liberal

Bias Score Calculation:


Government Interference
Border Wall


97% "Not to use it when we have so many people who are in such great need is heartbreaking.""
90% "But Speaker Nancy Pelosi is adamant that it should contain a broader food stamp expansion.""
88% "In December, Mr. Trump issued a rule that made it harder for states to waive work mandates in areas of high unemployment.""
86% "Democrats say the emergency help will end before the economy recovers and mostly bypasses the neediest families, few of whom qualify for jobless benefits.""

We have listed the top 10 sentiments. More sentiments do exist. Please review the full article for more information.

*Our bias meter rating uses data science including sentiment analysis, machine learning and our proprietary algorithm for determining biases in news articles. The rating is an independent analysis and is not affiliated nor sponsored by the news source or any other organization










Contributing sentiments towards policy:

97% : "Not to use it when we have so many people who are in such great need is heartbreaking.
90% : "This program is the single most powerful anti-hunger tool that we have and one of the most important economic development tools," said Kate Maehr, the head of the Chicago food bank.
90% : During the Great Recession, Congress increased maximum benefits by about 14 percent and let states suspend work rules.
90% : '69 '79 '89 '99 '09 '19 FISCAL YEARS
90% : But Speaker Nancy Pelosi is adamant that it should contain a broader food stamp expansion.
88% : (Other provisions disqualified many immigrants.)
88% : . "I don't see it as a welfare program," said Eric M. Bost, Mr. Bush's first food stamp administrator.
88% : In December, Mr. Trump issued a rule that made it harder for states to waive work mandates in areas of high unemployment.
86% : "I don't want to create a moral hazard for people to be on welfare."
86% : Democrats say the emergency help will end before the economy recovers and mostly bypasses the neediest families, few of whom qualify for jobless benefits.
85% : But despite their support for spending trillions on other programs to mitigate those hardships, Republicans have balked at a long-term expansion of food stamps -- a core feature of the safety net that once enjoyed broad support but is now a source of a highly partisan divide.
84% : Democrats, he said, want to leverage the pandemic into a permanent food stamp expansion.
84% : *The 2019 data excludes January and February, which were artificially affected by the government shutdown in January.
84% : Unable to get unemployment benefits as the state's website crashed, he exhausted his $1,200 stimulus check on rent and watched his food shelves empty.
83% : By the time Mr. Trump introduced his brand of conservative populism, skepticism of food stamps was part of the movement's genome.
83% : They note that Democrats have not only pushed a longer benefit increase but proposed to permanently block Mr. Trump's work rules and asset limitations.
82% : Democrats want to raise food stamp benefits by 15 percent for the duration of the economic crisis, arguing that a similar move during the Great Recession reduced hunger and helped the economy.
82% : For President Trump, a personal rivalry may also be in play:
82% : "I see it as a nutritional assistance program.
81% : " Even as the pandemic unfolded, the Trump administration tried to push forward with new work rules projected to remove more people from aid.
81% : But opponents of the Trump work rule, which applies to able-bodied adults, say it will punish indigents willing to work but unable to find jobs.
81% : While Mr. Schuster's income fell, others have seen expenses rise.
80% : New research shows a rise in food insecurity without modern precedent.
80% : "These are households cutting back on portion sizes, having kids skip meals.
79% : 40 % Mothers with children 12 and under GREAT RECESSION 30 U.S. households with children under 18 20 10
78% : Among those seeking food bank help for the first time was Andrew Schuster, 22, a long-distance trucker who contracted Covid-19 and returned home to recover outside Cleveland.
77% : She feeds them on $170 of food stamps and frequents food pantries.
77% : Share who answered "often" or "sometimes" to the statement:
77% : When food runs short, parents often skip meals to keep children fed.
77% : "Second of all, the people need it.
76% : "Under the last administration, more than 10 million people were added to the food stamp rolls," Mr. Trump said in his State of Union speech (understating the growth).
75% : "Anyone who qualifies is going to get those benefits.
75% : The number of people receiving food stamps, also known as SNAP, soared during the Great Recession and has never fully returned to its previous level. AVERAGE NUMBER OF SNAP RECIPIENTS* AVERAGE MONTHLY BENEFIT
75% : Inadequate nutrition can leave young children with permanent developmental damage.
75% : And third of all, it's a stimulus to the economy."
74% : But Mr. Trump has done all he can to shrink the program.
74% : Cars outside food banks have lined up for miles in places as different as San Antonio, Pittsburgh and Miami Beach.
73% : Analysts at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Arloc Sherman and Danilo Trisi, found that in 2012 the program lifted 10 million people out of poverty.
73% : You can only use it to buy food."
73% : 40 % 41% Mothers with children 12 and under GREAT RECESSION 35% U.S. households with children under 18 30 23%
73% : (The increase gives all households the maximum benefit, $509 for a family of three, though the poorest 40 percent already received it.)
73% : "First of all, it's a moral thing to do," she said in an interview with MSNBC.
72% : "The last time we did this, those changes were sold as being temporary -- when unemployment improved, the rolls would revert back.
72% : During the Pandemic The share of Americans who say they cannot always afford enough food has hit the highest level on record and has increased most rapidly among families with young children.
71% : "I'm a little bit jaded," he said.
70% : The Republican distrust of food stamps has now collided with a monumental crisis.
69% : By The New York Times | Source: United States Department of Agriculture Supporters saw a model response.
68% : Food Insecurity
65% : The law he signed subjected cash aid to time limits and work requirements but allowed similar constraints on just one group of food stamp recipients -- adults without minor children, roughly 10 percent of the caseload.
65% : In addition to the stimulus checks, Congress has added $600 a week to jobless benefits through July and raised food stamp benefits during the pandemic for about 60 percent of the caseload, at a cost of nearly $2 billion a month.
65% : Prospects for a congressional deal remain unclear and may depend on horse-trading in a larger coronavirus bill.
64% : But Republicans have fought for years to shrink the program, saying that the earlier liberalization led to enduring caseload growth and a backdoor expansion of the welfare state.
64% : The Trump administration is seeking to eliminate it and has and predicted that 3.1 million people would lose benefits, 8 percent of the caseload.
64% : Mr. Schuster, who voted for Mr. Trump, said that he used to think people abused food stamps, but that he may need to apply.
63% : We do not need new legislation."
62% : The share of families suffering "very low food security" -- essentially, hunger -- fell after the benefit expanded (and rose once the increase expired).
62% : But Ms. Bauer's own survey of households with children 12 and younger found that more than 17.4 percent reported the children themselves not eating enough, compared with 5.7 percent in the Great Recession.
62% : The numbers are much higher than I expected.
61% : "I never thought I would need it."
60% : The debate in Congress is about the size of benefits, not the numbers on the rolls.
60% : A new conservative think tank, the Foundation for Government Accountability, said the policy "freed" the poor and urged others to follow.
60% : A federal judge halted the move, and Congress deferred the rule until the pandemic ends.
59% : A second target of administration ire is a policy that lets states expand eligibility by waiving certain limits on income and assets.
59% : Ms. Bauer said disruptions in school meal programs may be part of the problem, with some families unable to reach distribution sites and older siblings at home competing for limited food.
58% : See more updates Updated 4m ago More live coverage: Global Markets New York Food stamp supporters say the program is well suited for the crisis because it targets the poor and benefits can be easily adjusted since recipients get them on a debit card.
58% : Conservatives say liberal states have abused waivers to gut the work rules -- only six of California's 58 counties, for example, enforced the requirement at the start of the year.
58% : '02 '04 '06 '08 '10 '12 '14 '16 '18 April '20 By The New York Times | Source: Brookings Institution The new research by the Brookings Institution underscores the rising need.
57% : Republican governors reinstated work rules for childless adults, and one of them, Sam Brownback of Kansas, succeeded in pushing three-quarters of that population from the rolls.
56% : Rejecting what he called the Democrats' narrative of "hardhearted Republicans," he warned against tempting people to become dependent on government aid.
55% : "This is alarming," she said.
52% : WASHINGTON -- As a padlocked economy leaves millions of Americans without paychecks, lines outside food banks have stretched for miles, prompting some of the overwhelmed charities to seek help from the National Guard.
52% : PER PERSON $200 Adjusted for inflation
51% : The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, as food stamps are also known, expands automatically to accommodate need. "SNAP is working, SNAP will increase," said Representative K. Michael Conaway of Texas, the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, which oversees the program.
51% : Trump contradicts his administration's plans to shut down the coronavirus task force.
51% : 10 0 '69 '79 '89 '99 '09 '19 FISCAL YEARS AVERAGE MONTHLY BENEFIT
51% : "This is a backdoor way to get permanent changes," Mr. Conaway said.
50% : By the time the rolls peaked in 2013, nearly 20 million people had joined the program, an increase of nearly 70 percent, and one in seven Americans received food stamps, including millions with no other income.
49% : Mr. Trump and his congressional allies have agreed to only a short-term increase in food stamp benefits that omits the poorest recipients, including five million children.
49% : Food stamps remain central to the American safety net -- costing much more ($60 billion) than cash aid and covering many more people (38 million).
49% : Jami Clinkscale of Columbus, Ohio, who lives on a disability check of $580 a month, has gone from feeding two people to six after taking in grandchildren when their mother was evicted.
48% : But a box of milk, corn and pork loin "lifted a weight off my shoulders -- I was almost in tears."
48% : (Her survey is called the Survey of Mothers With Young Children.)
46% : Caseloads soared.
46% : As president, Reagan went on to enact large cuts.
45% : This is not a war that charity can win."
45% : 10 0 $0 '69 '79 '89 '99 '09 '19 '69 '79 '89 '99 '09 '19 FISCAL YEARS
45% : "Under my administration, seven million Americans have come off food stamps."
45% : He was down to ramen noodles when he learned the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio was distributing food at his high school.
44% : He sought budget cuts of 30 percent.
44% : Critics of the policy -- "broad-based categorical eligibility" -- say it encourages abuse by allowing people with significant savings to collect benefits.
43% : That didn't happen."
42% : In his State of the Union address in February, he boasted that falling caseloads showed him besting his predecessor, Barack Obama, whom Newt Gingrich, the former Republican House speaker, had derided as "the food stamp president.
42% : Those calling for a broader increase say Congress has spent an unprecedented amount on programs invented on the fly while rejecting a proven way to keep hungry people fed.
42% : "This is what you want a safety net to do -- expand in times of crisis," said Diane Schanzenbach, an economist at Northwestern University.
42% : He tried to reduce eligibility and expand work rules to a much larger share of the caseload.
42% : Even as the pandemic unfolded in mid-March, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue vowed to implement the work rule on April 1 as scheduled.
41% : When Congress balked, he pursued his goals through regulations.
41% : All U.S. households 20 10 0 '02 '04 '06 '08 '10 '12 '14 '16 '18 April '20 Share who answered "often" or "sometimes" to the statement: "The food that we bought just didn't last,
40% : The reality of so many Americans running out of food is an alarming reminder of the economic hardship the pandemic has inflicted.
38% : Latest Updates: Coronavirus Outbreak in the U.S. Online retailers, including Amazon, will press Republicans to support a multibillion-dollar plan to save the Postal Service.
35% : In a history that spans more than a half-century, the program has alternately been celebrated as "nutritional aid" and attacked as "welfare."
35% : Before the pandemic, the average household had a total income of just over $10,000 and received a benefit of about $239 a month.
35% : Before the pandemic, the administration predicted nearly 700,000 people would lose benefits.
32% : About 40 states do so, although the budget center found more than 99 percent of benefits go to households with net incomes below the poverty line ($21,700 for a family of three).
30% : He tried to replace part of the benefit with "Harvest Boxes" of cheaper commodities.
30% : "I felt kind of embarrassed, really, because of the stigma of it," Mr. Schuster said.
29% : The Growth of a Core Safety Net Program
29% : Its current form dates to a 1977 compromise between two Senate lions, the liberal George McGovern and the conservative Bob Dole.
29% : But almost simultaneously Ronald Reagan added to a stream of racialized attacks on the program, invoking the image of a "strapping young buck" who used food stamps to buy steaks.
27% : They have average cash incomes of about $367 a month.
27% : Republicans say the government is spending trillions to meet such needs.
26% : About 40 percent of food stamp households -- the poorest -- were left out of the benefit expansion.
23% : PER PERSON 50 million recipients $200 Adjusted for inflation
23% : After President Bill Clinton pledged to "end welfare" in the 1990s by restricting cash aid, conservatives sought to include big cuts in food stamps, which he resisted.
22% : Among mothers with young children, nearly one-fifth say their children are not getting enough to eat, according to a survey by the Brookings Institution, a rate three times as high as in 2008, during the worst of the Great Recession.
22% : To qualify, a household must have an income of 130 percent of the poverty line or less, about $28,000 for three people.
21% : Mr. Conaway noted that Republicans have supported huge spending on other programs to temper the economic distress, and increased benefits for some SNAP recipients (for the duration of the health emergency, not the economic downturn).
21% : "I've eaten a lot less just to make sure they get what they need," she said.
21% : and we didn't have money to get more."
20% : His chief of staff, Mark Meadows, called last year for using erroneous food stamp payments to fund the border wall.
19% : His Republican successor, George W. Bush, called himself a "compassionate conservative" and promoted food stamps -- partly to help people leaving cash welfare to work -- and the caseloads grew by nearly two-thirds
19% : "Millions of able-bodied, working-age adults continue to collect food stamps without working or even looking for work," Mr. Trump said.
18% : But a backlash quickly followed, as a weak recovery and efforts to increase participation kept the rolls much higher than they had been before the recession.
17% : All U.S. households 0
14% : The money gets quickly spent and supplies a basic need.
13% : "This rule would take a group of people who are already incredibly poor, and make them worse off," said Stacy Dean, vice president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which favors broad access to benefits.
10% : Analyzing data from the Covid Impact Survey, a nationally representative sample, Lauren Bauer, a Brookings fellow in economic studies, found that nearly 23 percent of households said they lacked money to get enough food, compared with about 16 percent during the worst of the Great Recession.
9% : "The food that we bought just didn't last, and we didn't have money to get more."
8% : Nearly 1 in 5 young children in the United States are not getting enough to eat, new research found.
5% : Among households with children, the share without enough food was nearly 35 percent, up from about 21 percent in the previous downturn.

*Our bias meter rating uses data science including sentiment analysis, machine learning and our proprietary algorithm for determining biases in news articles. The rating is an independent analysis and is not affiliated nor sponsored by the news source or any other organization

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