Earlier this month, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives passed a farm bill that did not include funding for food stamps, which it proposed be considered separately.
Republicans said the food stamp program needs to be reformed.
The White House and Senate Democrats began cranking up the machinery for attacking Republicans as skinflints who want widows and orphans to starve.
But before the public that pays for the program makes up its collective mind about who is right, there are a few relevant facts:
* The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cost $40 billion in 2008 - and more than $80 billion in fiscal year 2012.
* Between 2007 and 2011, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the number of people claiming SNAP benefits increased by 70 percent, and the cost of the program increased by $42 billion.
* Making it easier for people to get benefits is part of the reason for the increase.
States that adopt "broad-based categorical eligibility" rules simply decide that an individual who qualifies for another welfare program - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, for example - is automatically eligible for food stamps.
"In states using this loophole, a middle-class family with one earner who becomes unemployed for one or two months can receive $668 per month in food stamps even if the family has $20,000 in cash sitting in the bank," wrote Heritage Foundation experts earlier this summer.
"Because of this, food stamps have been transformed from a program for the truly needy to a routine bonus payment stacked on top of conventional unemployment benefits."
* "To put it in context, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming," reported Fox Business.
Democrats, having pushed the national debt past $16 trillion, insist in budget talks that they cannot cut spending.
This insistence that the people must provide more money will not sit well with taxpayers who see the federal government operate programs like open spigots.