October 04, 2023

Two-Year Anniversary of $300B Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) Expansion, Biden Continues to Circumvent Congress

This week marks the two-year anniversary of Biden’s $300 billion Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) expansion. TFP is just one of many examples of how the Biden administration has circumvented Congress to force a wasteful spending agenda on the American people.

Background:

For nearly 50 years, the TFP remained cost-neutral on an inflation adjusted basis. The 2018 Farm Bill’s language requires the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reevaluate the TFP by “2022 and at 5-year intervals thereafter,” based off of food, consumption, and dietary patterns. The TFP is used by USDA to calculate the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s (SNAP), or food stamps, benefit levels.

However, in August 2021, Biden’s USDA defied Congressional intent and conducted a reevaluation of the TFP without cost constraints, justifying this action by arguing that the 2018 Farm Bill did not legally require them to stay within cost-constraint principles, even though the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) score had no cost for the reevaluation provision. 

The result: food stamps increased by 23 percent at the cost of $300 billion over the next ten years, according to CBO. Moreover, the reevaluation has contributed to CBO’s 10-year SNAP baseline projection skyrocketing since President Biden took office:

Biden's Policies Are Projected To Cause the Slowest Economic Growth In Almost a Century (69)

The Outcome:

In 2021, Republican lawmakers requested a Government Accountability Office (GAO) legal review of Biden’s reevaluated TFP. 

GAO found USDA’s actions violated the 1996 Congressional Review Act which requires government agencies to submit significant policy updates to Congress.

GAO also uncovered USDA failed to follow basic steps to ensure an efficient, legitimate determination process

According to GAO, USDA did not set “key milestones, goals, and measurable objectives” or have a project manager to ensure a “common understanding of crucial deliverables and the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved.” 

Additionally, USDA completely side-stepped the recommended peer review process and neglected to provide adequate reasoning for various decisions or sufficient analysis surrounding the “effects of decisions and comparison of alternatives” in their reevaluation.

By not doing their due diligence on the project, exploring other options, or consulting lawmakers and other professionals, the Biden administration circumvented Congress and continued down a path of fiscal irresponsibility, costing the taxpayers billions of dollars along the way.   

The Big Picture:

The TFP increase is yet another example of the White House circumventing Congress. 

Since taking office, President Biden has spent over $1.5 trillion through various executive actions without any formal Congressional approval. 

Unlike President Biden – whose FY 2024 budget would enact the highest sustained spending level in American history – House Budget Republicans have a plan to reverse the curse of runaway spending and failed economic policies.

For far too long, Americans have felt the pain of high inflation. House Republicans remain committed to reining-in Democrats’ woke and wasteful spending and unleashing economic prosperity throughout America once again.