Poverty Task Force Co-Chairs Applaud Biden Administration’s Increase in Federal Hunger Program

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), co-chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05), and Rules Chairman and anti-hunger advocate Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02) applauded the announcement from the Biden Administration revising nutrition standards for SNAP, the federal food stamp program. This move has prompted the largest permanent increase to nutritional benefits in the program’s history.

“No family deserves to go hungry,” said Rep. Barbara Lee. “As we continue to fight back a global health and economic crisis, it’s more important now than ever to invest in the needs of families in need. For decades, SNAP has been a lifeline in the fight against hunger and a proven pathway out of poverty for millions of vulnerable children, families, communities of color, the LGBTQ community, veterans and people with disabilities. Leader Hoyer, Congressman McGovern, and I will continue to push our colleagues in Congress to prioritize alleviating poverty and hunger. The Biden Administration has proven to be an effective partner in our efforts.”

“In the richest nation on earth, no one ought to go to bed hungry,” said Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer. “I am glad to see the Biden Administration revise critically important provisions within the nutrition assistance program, which will allow families to access healthy food and put healthy meals on the table. This program has long proven to be an effective resource for millions of families to help lift themselves out of poverty. Our Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity will continue to highlight the needs of families living in poverty as we work to advance President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.”

“Even before COVID hit, too many families couldn’t afford the basic human right of access to nutritious food,” said Chairman McGovern. “The reality is that we have the food, the resources, and the infrastructure we need to end hunger in America—the only thing we lack is the political will to make it happen. Congresswoman Lee, Leader Hoyer and I are grateful that President Biden cares deeply about the challenges faced by food insecure families and is responding to our calls for action. By updating SNAP benefits to align with the real cost of a healthy diet, President Biden is taking bold action to lift families out of poverty and align our federal anti-hunger programs with evidence-based research showing that increasing benefits prevents food insecurity and improves health.”

The Agriculture Department is increasing the payments by revising the list of foods used to estimate the cost of a nutritious diet. This is a reversal from the Trump Administration, which tried to limit eligibility for food aid, though the proposed restrictions were overturned by courts.

Starting in October, average benefits will rise more than 25% from pre-pandemic levels, and all 42 million people in the program will receive additional aid. The new maximum benefit for a family of four will increase to $835 a month, a 21% increase from pre-pandemic levels. The average benefit will rise 27%, adjusted for inflation. Average benefits in October will go up by more than 25% from pre-pandemic levels for the 42 million people in the program. The increase means that average monthly benefits will rise $36 per person from $121 (about $1.20 per day).

Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and member of the Congressional Hunger Caucus. To learn more, click here.