(CBS NEWS) - The food-stamp program is credited with helping 44 million people in America afford groceries, providing what supporters say is a needed benefit for some of the country’s most vulnerable.
Yet critics of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) say the anti-hunger program is easily abused, and the latest questions about the program are stirring a hornet’s nest of debate. One hot-button issue: Should food-stamp recipients be banned from buying soda and candy?
House lawmakers on Thursday heard experts discuss the issue in what appeared to be a fact-finding mission, as the House Agriculture Committee said it wanted to hear the “pros and cons.”
The debate aligns two sides that may not appear to have much in common: critics on the right of government overspending and public health advocates. Debate about how food-stamp benefits are spent was sparked by a November report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which found that households receiving SNAP benefits used 20 cents of every dollar to buy soda, candy, desserts and other unhealthy foods.