More so than some other federal agencies, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a significant amount of discretionary spending power at their disposal. The Trump regime used that power to write checks for farmers harmed by Trump's trade war without congressional approval, but the Biden administration is going to do something a little more constructive.
President Biden signed an executive order this morning that instructs the USDA to increase benefits under the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).
Biden plans to ask the Agriculture Department, which administers the food stamp program, for a 15% bump in the emergency benefits given to families whose kids normally would count on breakfast and lunch from school programs, Deese said. That change could increase food stamp benefits for a family of three by about $105 over two months, he said.
Biden also wants about 12 million of the lowest-income food stamp recipients to be able to qualify for the emergency food benefits. This tweak would lift their food stamps by 15% to 20% per month, Deese said.
Now, $105 may not sound like a lot, but depending on the state and exact circumstances, that could be a very significant increase in some cases.
This kind of action would ordinarily require a change in law and appropriations from Congress, but the executive branch has a significant amount of control over agricultural spending.
The amount of money we spend to feed people is not nearly enough to begin with and the vast majority of us couldn't survive on it, but this is better than nothing while waiting for Congress to act and expand the program beyond of the scope of what Biden can legally order.
An increase in SNAP benefits actually is an indirect way of supporting the agricultural industry. That's why the food stamp program was created in the first place. Feeding people is the right and moral thing to do, but it's also an economic stimulus program. Every dollar spent on food stamps results in nearly two dollars of economic activity.