U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued a statement today after USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack missed the deadline to reply to oversight questions about the agency's formal partnership with Mexico to boost food stamp enrollment among foreign nationals. Vilsack, in a previous letter, acknowledged at least 30 meetings between USDA and Mexico as part of the partnership.
Sessions' comments follow:
"We have learned this week from the Congressional Research Service that the United States now spends more on welfare than any other federal program--including Medicare, Social Security, or defense. Yet the Administration continues a vast array of controversial promotions to further expand enrollment, when the focus should be on expanding economic growth and opportunity.
One particularly indefensible promotion is USDA's official partnership with Mexican consulates to increase food stamp registration among foreign nationals. This lies contrary to both sound economics and sound immigration policy.
The USDA was given a deadline of yesterday to provide needed information to Congress regarding the details of this partnership and has failed to do so. This is deeply concerning.
Included in the oversight letter was a request for information about USDA's contact with the Departments of State and Homeland Security regarding immigration law. Both DHS and DOS have effectively nullified the federal law that prohibits admission into the U.S. for those likely to become welfare reliant, further enabling USDA to surge non-citizen registration.
Such activities cannot be justified to the American people, which probably explains why the Administration has been unwilling to provide answers."
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