SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is a government assistance program to help low-income households pay for food. SNAP used to be called the Food Stamp program. The federal government changed the name of the program on October 1, 2008. SNAP is a modern program that uses EBT cards instead of old style paper food stamp coupons. The amount of SNAP food stamps a household gets depends on the household’s size, income, and expenses.
The first food stamp program was established by virtue of board authority contained in section 32 of the act of August 24, 1935 of the public law because of the Great Depression in the world in 1930s. Section 32 permanently appropriated an amount equal to 30 percent of U. S. customs receipts from all sources each year for the secretary of Agriculture, to be spent on three purposes, like encouragement of agricultural exports, encouragement of domestic consumption of agricultural commodities and reestablishment of farmers’ purchasing power. Then, the first food stamp plan established by the U.
S. Department of Agriculture began as an experiment on May 16, 1939, in Rochester, NY. It was subsequently extended to five additional experimental areas such as Montgomery county, Dayton county, OH, king county, Seattle, WA ; Jefferson county, Birmingham , AL; Pottawatomie county, OK; and Des Moines, IA. As measured by the number of participants, the plan reached its peak in 1941. The program ended since the conditions that brought the program into being unmarketable food surpluses and widespread unemployment were no longer existed because of world war.
In 1947, the house committee on agriculture and the senate committee on agriculture and forestry held long range agricultural policy hearing s at which food stamps program had been introduced by Senator Aiken. After that numbers of the food stamps bills introduce climbed dramatically and for economic recovery and growth, on February 2, 1961, president J. F. Kennedy announced an expansion of surplus commodity distribution and the beginning of the Food Stamp Program. He asked for legislation to expand and make permanent the food stamp program. And in 1964 president L. B. Johnson renewed the request for permanent authorizing legislation.
Among the official purposes of the Food Stamp Act of 1964 were strengthening the agricultural economy and providing improved levels of nutrition among low-income households; however, the practical purpose was to bring the pilot food stamp program under Congressional control and to enact the regulations into law. From 1964 through 1969 the food stamp program operated as originally in 1964 with only minor changes but participants were increase unexpectedly. In the late 1970, congress enacted the first major amendments to the food stamp act of 1964, acting on a 1969 Nixon administration requested for new legislation.
And from 1971 through 1973 the program continued to expand as more state and localities. After that nationwide operation of the program was accomplished in January 1975 when Puerto Rico entered the program. And in 1976, they enacted the vender act to control the vender. And Both the outgoing Republican Administration and the new Democratic Administration offered Congress proposed legislation to reform the food stamp in 1977. 1977 act bring lots of changes on food stamp rules such as provision on using mail, telephone, or home visits for certification but still there was fraud and lots of error and participants increase double within a month.
And the large and expensive food stamp program came under close scrutiny of both the Executive Branch and Congress in the early 1980s then Major legislation in 1981 and 1982 enacted cutbacks. The Hunger Prevention Act of 1988 was signed into law September 19, 1988 and permitted one or more pilot projects to test whether the use of benefit cards or other automated or electronic benefit delivery systems could enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of program operations for both program administrators and recipients.
Following this initiative, Public Law the Mickey Leland Memorial Domestic Hunger Relief Act of November 28, 1990 established EBT as an issuance alternative and permitted the Department to continue to conduct EBT demonstration projects. The mid 1990s was a period of welfare reform. Many States had waivers of the rules for the cash welfare program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children before major welfare reform legislation was enacted in 1996. In May 2002, the Food Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 were enacted, including reauthorization of the Food Stamp Program.
Major changes to the food stamp program such as, restoration of eligibility for food stamps to qualified aliens who have been in the United States at least five years; then Food stamp participation increased from about 17. 2 million in fiscal year 2000 to 26 million people in July 2006. SNAP reaches a large share of eligible households. Almost three-quarters of individuals who qualified for SNAP benefits received them in fiscal year 2009. This represents an all-time high and shows significant improvement from 2001, hen the participation rate bottomed out at 54 percent. Some of the most recent increase in participation may be caused by the current economic slowdown and the recent rise in unemployment rates. SNAP and other nutrition programs have helped make severe hunger in America rare. Before the late 1960s, when the federal government began providing nutrition assistance, hunger and severe malnutrition could be found in many low-income communities in the United States. Today, in large part because of these programs, such severe conditions are no longer found in large numbers.
Now there are some process how it became the public law: Identification: Until 1932, provision of food and monetary assistance in the United States was the responsibility of local communities and charities. The Federal government played no role, nor was it directly involved in assisting the farmers who produced food. Agriculture had enjoyed relative prosperity from 1900 to 1918, but the end of World War I brought slackening demand and renewed competition from other countries.
By 1920, the farm sector had slipped into a period of long-term stagnation. In previous decades, when farmers had experienced economic difficulties, they looked to the Federal government for cheaper credit and relief from railroad and banking monopolies and trusts. In the 1920s, agricultural prices had declined, but in the early 1930s during the start of the Great Depression, many agricultural products became virtually unmarketable. The Farm Board first action was to buy some of the surplus wheat that depressed markets could no longer absorb.
Millions of bushels of government-owned wheat began accumulating in warehouses at the same time that reports of widespread hunger and malnutrition were appearing in the newspapers. Some Americans were troubled by this contradiction of suffering amid abundance and wondered if a way could be found to get some of this surplus food to the hungry. Agenda: When President Franklin Roosevelt took office in March of 1933, a top priority of his administration was to rehabilitate the farm economy by paying farmers not to plant crops in the hope that farm prices and incomes would rise.
A new agency in the Department of Agriculture, the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, was charged with carrying out this task. It was controversial not only because it involved government intervention in a major sector of the economy, but also because it would come at the expense of urban dwellers that would pay higher prices for food. Distributing surplus food to the hungry was one way of defusing criticism of the agricultural adjustment program. Formulation: In the summer of 1933, the Roosevelt Administration decided to slaughter 70 percent of all U. S. piglets.
Storing and withholding grain at a time of food crisis was one thing, but killing and wasting piglets was quite another and the public and editorial outcry was loud and immediate. Ultimately, the administration announced that it would use $75 million to obtain surplus agricultural products for the unemployed and needy over the coming winter. On October 4, 1933, the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation (FSRC) was established to expand markets for agricultural products, and to purchase, store, and process surplus agricultural products so as to relieve the hardship and suffering caused by unemployment.
Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace later said of the creation of the FSRC (transferred to USDA in 1935 and renamed the Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation) that, Not many people realized how radical it was this idea of having the Government buy from those who had too much, in order to give to those who had too little. In May 1939, USDA initiated an experimental Food Stamp Program that lasted until 1943. Food retailers favored the program because of the extra business they hoped it would create.
Recipients and relief advocate the program believed the program would help provide the poor with a steadier flow of food and a more varied and nutritious diet. Before the program, commodity distributions were usually made once a month, which made it difficult for a poor family to plan ahead. The Food Stamp Program provided recipients with two kinds of stamps. They could purchase orange stamps at face value and receive half that amount in blue stamps for free. Enactment: Senator John F. Kennedy also became interested in food aid in 1958, although neither his food assistance bills nor those of Senator Aiken made much progress.
Kennedy commitment was strengthened when he campaigned for the presidency in West Virginia and encountered poverty firsthand. His first official act as President was to sign an executive order enlarging USD surplus commodity distribution program. President Kennedy issued an executive order permitting the use of Section 32 funds in a pilot program. The New Deal program involving two kinds of stamps was replaced by a one-stamp arrangement in which recipients were to pay an amount equal to their usual food expenditures or in return for stamps of greater value.
At the time, many in Congress preferred that supplemental stamps be used to purchase only surplus commodities, but the Kennedy Administration wished to include subsidies for perishable goods that could not be stored, and it also expected a positive antirecession effect from increased demand across the entire farm economy. In 1963, the administration began to consider a food stamp bill because operating the program under Section 32 guidelines hampered further development.
However, members of the Agriculture Committees, especially in the House, were bothered by the idea of linking food aid and welfare because they feared this would interfere with the Department of Agriculture primary mission of assisting farmers. The bill stalled until nutrition and food assistance advocates delayed a tobacco bill in the Rules Committee. Then, they and Farm-bloc representatives traded votes over wheat and cotton price supports to guarantee passage in the House and protect it in conference with the Senate. Implementation:
Vote trading continued to characterize food stamp politics throughout the early years of the 1964 Food Stamp Act. The Act had a dual justification to provide for a fuller and more effective use of food abundance and to raise the levels of nutrition among low-income households. It permitted but did not require that programs be initiated in all localities. Spending was only authorized for 3 years, beginning with $75 million in 1965 and increasing to $200 million in 1967. This fell short of what advocates had wished, but an amendment that would have shifted much of the program costs to the States was defeated.
Conclusion: Food stamp or SNAP however we say it has good intentions to help the lower class by providing them with the resources to have basic necessities. But in my personal point of view, what has been the sad reality is partisanship politics and undue political games in the name of food stamp. It is not to be ignored that food stamps has been misused to some extent and we have heard about it in popular media quite a few times, it still serves the purpose of being our nation’s social safety net. To sum it up, I have included some final thoughts about the SNAP program and its potential impact. . A large and growing share of SNAP households is working households. One reason why SNAP is serving more working families is that, for a growing share of the nation’s workers, having a job has not been enough to keep them out of poverty. 2. SNAP responded quickly and effectively to the recession. That’s precisely what SNAP was designed to do: respond quickly to help more low-income families during economic downturn. 3. Economists consider SNAP one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus, so SNAP’s quick response to the recession helped the broader economy. 4.
Today’s large SNAP caseloads mostly reflect the extraordinarily deep and prolonged recession and the weak recovery. Workers who are unemployed for a long time are more likely to deplete their assets, exhaust unemployment insurance and turn to SNAP for help. 5. SNAP has one of the most rigorous quality control systems of any public benefit program. 6. SNAP’s recent growth is temporary. CBO predicts that SNAP spending will return nearly to pre-recession levels as a share of the economy. Over the long term, SNAP is not growing faster than the economy. So, it is not contributing to the nation’s long-term fiscal problems.
The question shouldn’t be whether a particular program is “contributing to the nation’s long-term fiscal problems. ” When overall revenues fall short of spending, any program funded out of general revenue can be accused of causing the deficit problem. Instead, we should compare the costs and the benefits of each program, and then find a way to pay for those that pass and reduce the scale or eliminate those that fail. Even though spending on SNAP has increased quite a bit during the recession, the program is working. I have no doubt that this program passes the cost-benefit test.