(Newsroom America) -- The number of Americans on food stamps has risen to another new record, fueling another campaign issue as the Democratic National Convention gets underway to re-nominate President Barack Obama.
According to government figures, 46.7 million Americans were on some sort of food stamp program in June, a figure that was up 0.4 percent from May and 3.3 percent higher than a year earlier.
"Too many middle-class families who have fallen on hard times are still struggling," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in an e-mail. "Our goal is to get these families the temporary assistance they need so they are able to get through these tough times and back on their feet as soon as possible."
Food-stamp spending has more than doubled in the past four years to a record $75.7 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2011. It is the Department of Agriculture's largest expenditure.
House Republicans have criticized the size of the program. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, now Mitt Romney's running mate, proposed a budget in April that would have cut spending for the program by $33 billion over 10 years.
"We need a new direction," Amanda Henneberg, a spokeswoman for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, told Bloomberg News in an e-mail. "Democrats are desperately trying to convince voters that they are better off than they were four years ago. But the opposite is true," as the numbers suggest, she said.
Other lawmakers say the administration is promoting food stamp registration, which is costing the government even more money.
"This administration has been hawking food stamps," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.
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