Food Assistance in President Biden’s COVID Relief Plan Would Reduce Hardship, Provide Economic Stimulus
The American Rescue Plan, the emergency relief proposal that President Biden announced in mid-January and that Congress will begin considering soon, includes key investments to mitigate high levels of hunger and hardship.
The President’s executive order to address food hardship is a strong response to families’ immediate hardship during the COVID crisis and takes an important step, consistent with congressional direction from the 2018 Farm Bill, to re-evaluate the adequacy of SNAP benefits in helping low-income Americans afford an adequate diet.
A top priority for lawmakers this month should be raising SNAP (food stamp) benefits as a way of mitigating hardship and injecting fast, high “bang-for-the-buck” stimulus into the economy.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Child Nutrition Programs (school, summer, and child care meals) are the only major entitlement programs whose beneficiaries risk two types of failures in the annual appropriations process: a government shutdown, especially at the beginning of the fiscal year, and annual funding that proves inadequate to cover the programs’ needs for the entire fiscal year.
A SNAP benefit increase is one of the highest bang-for-the-buck measures for economic stimulus to help support the economy.