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Budget analysis finds the debt deal would actually expand SNAP benefits, even though the GOP fought for work requirements

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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Speaks On The Debt Ceiling At The CapitolU.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks about the country’s debt ceiling outside his office at the Capitol.

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The debt ceiling bill that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden agreed to over the weekend may end up expanding participation in nutritional assistance benefits, a measure which some GOP members had fought tooth and nail against.

According to a projection by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released Tuesday, the current proposed “Fiscal Responsibility Act” would expand SNAP benefits to groups like homeless individuals and veterans. In total, at least 78,000 people would gain access SNAP benefits per month, which is a .2% increase, the CBO wrote. 

Over weeks of fraught negotiations, many GOP members opposed additional public benefit spending, seeking to bolster the work requirements required to access some benefits.

In February, the GOP House Budget Committee signaled that they wanted to limit public spending on SNAP.

Through May, members of the America First caucus urged McCarthy to reject any deal that did not expand work requirements for public benefits. 

But the CBO’s analysis shows an expansion of the pool of potential SNAP beneficiaries.

“Several groups would newly be exempt from work requirements: people experiencing homelessness, veterans, and people ages 18 to 24 who were in foster care when they turned 18,” the CBO wrote in the report.

The bill raises the age for work requirements from 49 to 54.

Some GOP lawmakers told Politico reporter Meredith Lee Hill that they believe the projection is incorrect. 

On Tuesday, the House Rules Committee voted 7-6 to approve the tentative bill, with two Republicans and all four Democrats voting no, according to NBC News. 

The House is expected to vote on the bill on Wednesday. It will need a majority of the House to pass.

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