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Reproduced from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals

The federal government spent $8.55 billion on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits last month, a 62% increase from what it spent just two months earlier in March, new analysis from the Peterson Foundation shows.

Details: The coronavirus pandemic increased federal spending on the program by an average of 28% per month in April and May, nearly double the largest monthly growth seen during the Great Recession.

  • The only other time SNAP spending has grown nearly as fast was around February 2019, when benefits for that month were advanced to prepare for a government shutdown.

What it means: The growth reflects an increased need for food stamps and government assistance as well as legislative changes, like the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which was signed into law on March 18, analysts at Peterson Foundation note.

The FFCRA:

  • Introduced the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), which provides benefits to families with children that rely on free or reduced-price school meals.
  • Allows states to increase maximum benefits to all households through Emergency Allotments.
  • Suspends the work and work training requirements for able-bodied adults.
  • The Congressional Budget Office estimated that those changes will increase program costs by $10.4 billion and $10.8 billion in fiscal year 2020 and fiscal year 2021, respectively.

Go deeper

Sep 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus unveils $2 trillion coronavirus bill

Rep. Josh Gottheimer joined by other members of the Problem Solvers Caucus, unveils the March to Common Ground proposal, Sept. 15. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

A bipartisan group of 50 House members known as the Problem Solvers Caucus unveiled a roughly $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill on Tuesday amid frustration with congressional and White House leaders for failing to deliver desperately needed aid to Americans.

Why it matters: The legislation, which is widely viewed as unpassable, is a last-ditch effort by centrist lawmakers to force party leaders back to the negotiating table before the November election.

Updated 44 seconds ago - Politics & Policy

Trump sues New York Times and his niece over tax report

Former President Trump hosting a boxing match in Hollywood, Florida on Sept. 11. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump filed a lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump on Tuesday over the news outlet's reporting on his tax records, the Daily Beast first reported.

Details: The lawsuit, filed in New York's Dutchess County, alleges the NYT "engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records" and that it "convinced" Mary Trump to "smuggle records out of her attorney's office and turn them over to The Times."

House passes government funding, debt ceiling bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The House passed a bill on Tuesday to fund the government through early December, along with a measure to raise the debt ceiling through December 2022.

Why it matters: The stopgap measure, which needs to be passed to avoid a government shutdown when funding expires on Sept. 30, faces a difficult journey in the Senate where at least ten Republicans would need to vote in favor.