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Sorting out the truth in politics

Food stamp use, subsidized housing rose on GOP watch

The statement

When Republicans last controlled the presidency and Congress, "the number of people on food stamps (and) the number of people in low-income housing went through the roof."

Glenn Grothman, Wisconsin state senator, April 4

The ruling

Republicans were mostly in control in Washington, D.C., from 2001 to 2007, with George W. Bush in the White House and GOP majorities in the House. But in the Senate, Democrats held a 51-49 majority for about a year and a half during that period.

U.S. Department of Agriculture figures show that the average number of food stamp recipients increased in each year between 2001 and 2006, before edging downward in 2007.

2001 17.3 million
2002 19.1 million
2003 21.3 million
2004 23.8 million
2005 25.6 million
2006 26.5 million
2007 26.3 million
2001 17.3 million
2002 19.1 million
2003 21.3 million
2004 23.8 million
2005 25.6 million
2006 26.5 million
2007 26.3 million
The number of people on food stamps was 52 percent higher in 2007 than it was in 2001.

And that came after a six-year span, from 1995 to 2001, when the number of food stamp recipients had declined by 35 percent.

So there's evidence to back the first part of Grothman's claim.

When we asked for evidence on the second part of the claim, Grothman admitted he didn't have figures on the number of people living in low-income housing but assumed the number had increased because more tax credits were made available to developers of low-income housing units.

More specifically, Congress in 2001 increased by 40 percent — from $1.25 to $1.75 per person — and indexed to inflation a tax credit that states could allocate toward funding low-income housing.

But Grothman's statement was much broader than one specific program.

Figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development count the number of people living in all types of HUD-subsidized housing.

The number rose from 8.49 million in 2000 to 9.39 million in 2007. The 2007 figure is 10.6 percent higher. That's not a staggering increase, but it certainly is a significant one.

We rate Grothman's claim Mostly True.

Edited for print. Read the full version at

Food stamp use, subsidized housing rose on GOP watch 04/11/14 [Last modified: Friday, April 11, 2014 8:03pm]
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