October 6th, 2010
06:11 PM ET
12 years ago

Pelosi fires back at Gingrich over food stamps

(CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday strongly defended her party's support of the federal food stamp program - a day after former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich argued that GOP candidates should use the growing number of people on food stamps against Democrats on the campaign trail.

At a press conference in her home town of San Francisco, Pelosi explained that the program's multiplier effect –the amount of money generated in the local economy as the result of the subsidy– far exceeds the nearly $60 billion spent this year by the federal government and is a sure-fire way to stimulate the economy. For every dollar a person receives in food stamps, Pelosi said that $1.79 is put back into the economy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture cites an even higher figure of $1.84.

"It is the biggest bang for the buck when you do food stamps and unemployment insurance. The biggest bang for the buck," she said.
Gingrich on Tuesday wrote a letter critical of the Democrats' stewardship of the economy and urged all Republican candidates to shape the political debate as one "between the Democratic Party of food stamps and the Republican Party of paychecks."

"It is an unassailable fact that in June, more food stamps were distributed by the government than ever before in American history. (It turns out that Barack Obama's idea of spreading the wealth around was spreading more food stamps around.)," wrote Gingrich.

The number of Americans receiving food stamps rose to a record 41.8 million in July and approximately one in eight Americans participate in the program, according to the USDA, with the average household subsidy receiving $294 a month.

Pelosi also chastised Gingrich for a political attack she believes is rooted in class warfare.

"There is some subliminal message that is being sent out there about us and them, meaning people who need food stamps and the rest of the country, which I think is an unfortunate course to go down," said Pelosi.

Filed under: Nancy Pelosi • New York Times
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Pollwatcher

    Newt looks like he needs to lay off food period, if you know what I mean.

    October 6, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    I'm still trying to figure out why Newtered is even bothering to pretend that this upsets him, the GOP or their corporate masters. It's precisely where they want ALL of us. Impoverished and willing to take pennies on the dollar just to have some kind of gainful employment. Can't have us prospering and getting all uppity with talk of raises and health benefits and all that jazz, now can we? No no no...wipe the slate clean with a period of rampant poverty once in a while and suddenly everyone's so downtrodden they'll just take whatever you'll give 'em...maybe even back off on minimum wage and unionization and things like overtime if you play your cards right. Then you can go back to hiring people who will take just enough of a trickle of wages to service their master consumer/education/homeowner debt so you can make oodles off your debt securities. Purposeful, cyclical recessions: corporate America's indentured servitude reset button.

    October 6, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  3. Bob in PA

    So is she saying that every dollar in food stamps issued actually costs us $1.79 ?

    All I know is that everytime I'm in line and someone there has food stamps, their cart is filled to the brim while I just seem to scrape by

    October 6, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    wow-its clear CNN has lost its touch. Trying to be all things to all people wont work. Too much attention is given to the republicans. Whats the story-you sound like you support the republicans. They are fillled with hate and no one wants to hear about them anymore. Did you see where asshole glen beck said it was a good thing to let that mans house in tennessee???? maybe someone should throw acid on his face. Probably would be consequences-but what the hell-nothing says you cant do it. Thats how glen beck thinks. Its apparently how you think too.

    October 6, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. Bob in PA

    1 in 8 and an average of 294 a month ?
    My wife and I are lucky to have $200 a month for food.

    October 6, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  6. 8 Years of "Trickle Down" economics has only left a dribbling wet spot on working Americans's shoes!

    Food stamps are needed due to the last 8 years of running 2 wars off the books and a 3 trillion dollar tax cut and the near economic collapse that the neo-cons want to go back to, so they can get a second chance at demolishing this great country.

    October 6, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. Johnny

    Gingrich another right wing waco and his fellow tea partiers who want to destroy America for their own selfish ambitions.

    October 6, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  8. keeth in cali

    Newt can thank the previous admin for this recession. $3 trillion in Iraq while he ignored Afghanistan and funded both wars outside of the budget, all the while telling people to spend, spend, spend even though all that money went to China. Obama is not the cause for more people on food stamps, Bush is. If we had gone into Afghanistan in 2001 and focused only on that, we would have been done very quickly and gotten back to the business of America, putting our money to work for us instead of nation building in Iraq. What a waste, Bush's folly in Iraq. And the GOP will never admit it.

    October 6, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  9. James

    Hell, if that's the case give everyone food stamps and we'll have the country turned around in no time.

    October 6, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Newt Gingrich and the GOP are using code words which are divisive while our great military men and women of all ethnic groups serve and die for this country. I DEMAND THEY STOP IT NOW, IT'S UN-AMERICAN.

    October 6, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  11. Hugo

    All I can say is that if you are not registered to vote, do not worry, some idiot with a welfare check in one hand and a pocket full of food stamps in the other will vote for you!

    October 6, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  12. What is the country coming to

    Some people are on food stamps because they lost their jobs. They rather have a paycheck but it is what it is. Gingrich is a ass.....that will not work. We as Americans some are smarter then that. GOP are evil people they dont care about anything
    but the RICH. People must feed their family. All he is doing is class war.........laughing at the once who have to get on food stamps and did not had a choice. What is this country coming to ? Please people when you go vote, please think and dont let those devils take control.

    October 6, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  13. jillib

    Newt, a disgraced former speaker...who cares what this hate fueled moron thinks? He climbs out from under his rock to scam the lemmings...sorry loser, not falling for your vitriol. And he's supposed to be one of the "deep thinkers" in the republican party.

    October 6, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. Joy

    I can't stand it, this just goes to show how corrupt the system is, it's best is best in failing. Pelosi should resign she is pathetic. She really knows how to twist it, I guess we should all be collecting foodstamps then!! That will grow the economy the way the socialists would like it to grow.

    October 6, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  15. vic, Nashville TN

    27 days more to Middle class become poor Rich will become super rich

    Gingrich so worried about poor Americans getting Food stamp

    But they so generous when they pour money in Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of food

    Our Tax money build rods, schools, Bridges in Iraq and Afghanistan but here no that is waste spending


    October 6, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  16. Annoyed

    Hey look, I can make up numbers too... Everytime Pelosi speaks 3 people lose their jobs and go on food stamps. Hey Nancy, if there is such a glorious multiplier effect, why not put everyone on food stamps? We would have so much money we wouldnt know what to do with it all. Imagine, $10 trillion in food stamps and bam, now we have 17 trillion in the economy! Everyone wins!

    October 6, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  17. Dawn Ada, Ohio

    So you really want to go there Newt? You realize that many of those food stamp recipients are Republicans, right? You realize that many of those "dirty" food stamp recipients just a few short years ago were middle class families, right? I can't wait for the day, when the brain washed republican voters to wake up and understand that the Republicans that they vote into office would rather walk over them than to shake their hand. I can't wait for them to realize that Republicans like Newt and Boehner would never "lower" them selves to even acknowledge some lower class person. Talk about elitists!! Wake up people there is only one party that is thinking about the 98% of us and that is the Democratic Party!

    October 6, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  18. T'SAH from Virginia

    ginGRINCH cannot ever come to the level of a person or family who is 'surviving' and would NEVER know what it takes to STRUGGLE – Americans are BENEATH HIM!!

    With unemployment, comes unemployment insurance and food stamps – common sense!! Just like the RepubliCAN'Ts did not want to extend unemployment insurance – which took the roof off of some family's head – ginGRINCH, if he had his way, will take the food away too!!

    PLEASE America – the 97% that 'that truly represent true America and hardly making it – GET OUT and VOTE and keep the EXTREMIST out of Washington in November. If you don't, you will REGRET it LATER and by then, it will be too LATE!

    This is T'SAH from Virginia and I approve this message!!!

    October 6, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  19. A Pig with Lipstick

    Let's face it, Democrats are pigs. Ugly, filthy, disgusting PIGS!

    October 6, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  20. Patrick from Minnesota

    Well we now know what the Republicans think about safety nets.

    October 6, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  21. Patrick from Minnesota

    If that was an attempt by Mr. Gingrich to un-seat Nancy Pelosi, then he should visit San Francisco some time. You certainly won't win San Francisco if you want to get rid of food stamps.

    October 6, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  22. Time Grows Short

    Pelosi is totally clueless. And the Progressive Democrats made her Speaker. One more reason to never pull the lever in the voting booth again for a Dem.

    October 6, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  23. duke1958

    Well Newty, I bet the people having to use food stamps to get buy would rather have a job. I have yet to see a Republican idea on job creation outside of wearing a uniform and carrying a gun in a foreign country.

    October 6, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  24. Rose

    I would like Pelosii to explain why some disabled veterans who can barely make ends meet have been turned down for food stamps. I see who is getting the benefits from food stamps at the grocery store all the time and they don't always buy wisely.

    October 6, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  25. Michael Baker

    Newt Gingrich is another failed Republican with failed Republican ideas. I think the ideal ticket for the republicans in 2012 would be Palin/Gingrich.

    I've always wanted to see one candidate receive all 50 states in the Electoral College, and with either of those bozos on the ticket, it's bound to happen.

    October 6, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
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