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Senate Ag Leaders Support Food Stamp Stimulus

January 8, 2009

Faced with a continuing recession and an uncertain economic future, Senate agricultural leaders have voiced their support for food stamp increases in the next stimulus package.

Following the lead of President-elect Obama and economic advisors on both sides of the aisle, Senate Agriculture Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) have called for a boost in food stamp allocations, which they believe will offer a swifter economic payoff than rebates issued in the last stimulus package.

According to a report by financial analysts at Goldman Sachs, every food stamp dollar spent generates $1.73 in economic activity, compared to a $1.26 rate of return on tax rebates.

In a December statement, Senator Harkin declared that food stamps would be central to the next Congressional stimulus plan. “We’ll have the votes,” said Harkin.

The timeline for a finalized stimulus plan remains unclear, as lawmakers continue to hammer out the details of tax breaks and focused spending increases. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stated that the House will forgo its President’s Day recess if a stimulus package has not been drawn up by February 16.

Current estimates gauge spending for Obama’s proposed stimulus package at nearly $800 billion over the next two years.

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