Biden’s Food Stamp Expansion Linked to Spike in Grocery Prices -Report

A recent report by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) has linked the Biden administration’s expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to a significant rise in grocery prices. The report, released on Thursday, suggests that the largest permanent increase in SNAP benefits in 2021 has contributed to a nationwide surge in food costs.

The Biden administration, in 2021, implemented the most substantial permanent increase in SNAP benefits since the program’s inception, raising benefits by an average of 27%, according to the FGA report. The FGA has criticized the administration for this “unlawful expansion” of the program, urging Congress to repeal it and mandate legislative approval for future changes.

The report further states that this expansion, which bypassed Congress, could cost taxpayers an estimated $250 billion over the next decade. It also suggests that this expansion has significantly contributed to the skyrocketing grocery prices. The FGA believes that by repealing this expansion, Congress could potentially save taxpayers over $193 billion in the next ten years.

SNAP spending reached a record high of $119 billion in 2022, marking a sixfold increase over the past two decades. From 2019 to 2022, the program’s spending more than doubled, rising from $4.5 billion to $11 billion. The Congressional Budget Office has projected that the SNAP expansion could cost U.S. taxpayers over $1 trillion in the next decade.

Jonathan Ingram, Vice President of Policy and Research at the FGA, criticized the USDA for increasing SNAP benefits by 27%, the largest permanent increase in the program’s history, without congressional approval. He argued that this overreach by the Biden administration has led to a significant increase in grocery prices, exacerbating inflation rather than alleviating hunger.

The FGA report cites World Bank data, suggesting that for every 12.5% increase in SNAP spending, grocery prices rise by 1%. Between December 2019 and March 2023, the cost of margarine increased by 59%, eggs by 54%, and frozen vegetables by 36%, as reported by the Labor Department.

The study concludes that the increase in SNAP spending could account for at least two-thirds of the rise in grocery prices. Even after the expiration of pandemic-related emergency allotments, per-capita SNAP spending grew by over 90% between December 2019 and March 2023. The report suggests that the increase in SNAP spending has fueled a more than 15% increase in grocery prices.