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April 18, 2024

The Real Story Behind Food Insecurity in the US

Hunger in the US is rising at an alarming pace – or is it? Last year’s annual report on food insecurity in the US led lawmakers to believe hunger is on the rise, and, unsurprisingly, federal lawmakers are using rising levels of food insecurity to advocate for expansions to federal government programs. Unfortunately, policymakers are conflating hunger and…

March 26, 2024

Economic Characteristics of the Food Insecure

Abstract The United States Department of Agriculture annually measures food insecurity among US householdsto assess whether Americans have access to adequate food. Intuition suggests that food insecurityrates should correlate to household resources, offering policymakers an important metric to guidegovernment assistance efforts. In this report, we examine the effectiveness of the food insecurity ratein identifying financially…

March 21, 2024

Sugary Beverage Consumption Among SNAP Recipients

The House Agriculture Committee recently failed to pass an appropriations bill that would have authorized a pilot program to test whether nutrition-based restrictions in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) could improve health outcomes for low-income households. This is just the latest rejection by Washington policymakers of proposals designed to improve nutritional outcomes for SNAP…

March 12, 2024

Why Did Food Insecurity Increase from 2019 to 2022 in the United States? 

Abstract In 2022, the United States witnessed a notable rise in household food insecurity, reversing a decade-long decline. Some observers have argued that the expiration of government relief efforts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic caused the one-year spike. However, the household food insecurity rate was higher in 2022 than in 2019, the year before the…

March 11, 2024

How Many Forms of “Wage Insurance” Do We Need, Exactly?

One of the most controversial policies included in H. R. 7024, the “Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act” that passed the House on January 31, is a provision that would expand the “lookback” to determine eligibility for the child tax credit (CTC). Under current law, adults claiming the CTC for a tax year…

February 29, 2024

Addressing the False Claims from Industry Groups on Pilot Testing SNAP Restrictions

The House Agriculture Committee recently released an appropriations bill for fiscal year 2024 that sets aside $2 million to implement five pilot programs that would make certain unhealthy items ineligible for purchase with SNAP benefits. (For context, the $2 million represents roughly 0.000016% of the overall SNAP budget). The purpose of these pilot projects is…

February 27, 2024

Options for Improving the Child Tax Credit Provisions in H.R. 7024, the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024

H.R. 7024, the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024, passed the House on January 31, 2024 and now faces an uncertain fate in the Senate. The bill is intended to offer something for both Republicans and Democrats—business tax cuts and an expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC). But this bargain—which…

February 8, 2024

CTC Expansion Rooted in Desire to Roll Back Work-based Welfare

Modifications to the child tax credit (CTC) are included in H.R. 7024, the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024, which the House of Representatives approved on January 31, 2024. That legislation pairs an extension of expired business tax relief policies, generally sought by Republicans, with an expansion of the CTC, which…

February 7, 2024

Solving Benefit Cliffs in SNAP

At their best, safety net policies in the US reduce poverty by spurring upward mobility among the most disadvantaged. This requires identifying disadvantaged families and scaling benefits according to their need, all while trying to encourage employment and other mobility-inducing behaviors in the process. When safety net programs do not meet this charge, families can…

January 22, 2024

SNAP to it, Congress — we need to address the obesity crisis now

The United States has witnessed historic and escalating rates of obesity among adults in recent decades. As of 2020, official government statistics indicate that obesity inflicts 42 percent of Americans, including one in five children.   Obesity disproportionately affects low-income populations, who often rely on federal programs for assistance. Congress can combat the obesity epidemic by reforming federal programs,…