The Human Cost: With Senate results too close to call, food-aid programs for low-income Americans hang in the balance

by | Nov 9, 2022 | Stock Market

The midterm election results will have far-reaching effects, including on low-income Americans. But it’s a particular piece of annual spending legislation that may determine food security during a time households already feel the pinch. The scope of the reauthorization and how much money will be appropriated for the farm bill, as it’s commonly known, in 2023 may depend on the results of Tuesday’s elections, said Elaine Waxman, senior fellow at the Urban Institute’s Income Benefits Policy Center, a left-leaning think tank.

The farm bill essentially decides how the government will spend money on food — from agricultural production and international trade to food security and aid for lower-income families. Every five years, the House and Senate revisit the budget makeup and requirements of the bill, and eventually reauthorize the bill. Each year in between, new appropriations must be approved. The current version of the farm bill, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, expires in September 2023. The largest budget in the farm bill is allocated to nutrition programs, in particular the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Formerly known as the food stamp program, SNAP aims to help lower-income households afford to eat. But the robustness of the reworked bill, which has expanded regularly esp …

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