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The White House should establish a council to study hunger in the United States, while Congress should reform existing nutrition programs to ensure that food stamp recipients are incentivized to purchase healthier food and can find work without losing their benefits, the bipartisan National Commission on Hunger said in a landmark report. Among the commission's recommendations, it proposes that recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, commonly called food stamps, be forbidden from using their benefits to purchase certain types of sugary beverages. The 10-member commission was created in a January 2014 act of Congress and tasked with examining how the federal government could reform existing programs to reduce hunger in the U.S. Because Congress ordered the commission to stay within existing spending levels, the final report did not include one proposal frequently endorsed by anti-hunger activists: an across-the-board benefit increase to SNAP benefits. The average two-person household on SNAP currently receives $255 per month in food-stamp benefits, according to A an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). Even on a budget, the majority of SNAP recipients are unable to make the food stamps last the entire month.
The White House Council of Economic Advisers said in a December report that current SNAP levels are a€?inadequate,a€? citing research that found the caloric intake of SNAP recipients declines over the course of a month as their households run low on benefits. But the Obama administration has played its own part in scaling back benefit levels, despite giving SNAP a major emergency cash infusion in the 2009 Recovery Act.
Although the National Commission on Hunger was constrained from calling for an immediate SNAP increase, it does recommend a pilot program to explore recalculating monthly SNAP allotments.

The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that 45 million people in 2011 received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, a 70% increase from 2007. Spending for the program, not including administrative costs, rose to $72 billion in 2011, up from $30 billion four years earlier. In a report, the CBO said roughly two-thirds of jump in spending was tied to an increase in the number of people participating in the program, which provides access to food for the poor, elderly, and disabled.
CBO said the number of people receiving benefits is expected to fall after 2014 because the economy will be improving.
Tags: 2012, 2012 election, Ann Curry, Barack Obama, CBO, Congressional Budget Office, debt, debt crisis, deficit, economic crisis, economic free-fall, economic freefall, economic recession, federal government, financial aid, financial disaster, financial hardship, financial recession, financial troubles, food, food costs, food stamp program, food stamps, hopenchange, NBC, Obama, poor, poverty, Pres.
My priorities: Watchdogging the government, making sure our tax dollars are spent wisely, living within our budgets (at home and in Washington, DC), and adhering to our Constitution and the conservative principles upon which it was developed by our founding fathers.
The 96-page report the commission issued Tuesday includes 20 major policy recommendations to Congress and the head of the U.S. Approximately 80 percent of SNAP benefits are redeemed within two weeks of receipt, another CBPP report found. One year after that bill allocated billions of dollars to SNAP in order to counteract the effect of a global market crash, the White House raided SNAPa€™s coffers to pay for a school lunch program, which in turn triggered a $5 billion across-the-board cut to SNAP benefits in 2013, the beginning of a years-long drawdown intended to eventually return SNAP benefits to pre-recession levels.

Currently, the Department of Agriculture calculates SNAP benefit levels based on the Thrifty Food Plan, which models the monthly food budget a low-income household needs in order to hit certain nutrition targets. The Low-Cost Food Plan allows for the same individual to consume $242 per month, or $2.69 per meal, in food.
Please help support Frugal Café Blog Zone by making purchases through Amazon links on this site. People receiving government Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program food assistance in the United States has risen 70 percent since 2007 and millions more will be added to the food stamp rolls in the next decade. It said the number of people receiving the benefits, commonly known as food stamps, would continue growing until 2014.
It said another 20% “of the growth in spending can be attributed to temporarily higher benefit amounts enacted in the” 2009 stimulus law.

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