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POLITICO reports:

USDA spent more money improperly in fiscal 2019 than the year before, according to a GAO report published on Monday tracking payments that were made in incorrect amounts or that should not have been made at all. The department's $6.7 billion in estimated improper spending was a small piece of the total $175 billion identified by the congressional watchdog, dwarfed by programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

By the numbers: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program accounted for most of USDA's improper payments, or just over $4 billion. The School Lunch Program tacked on another $1.1 billion, with the School Breakfast Program chipping in an estimated $461 million.

- On the farm side, USDA improperly paid out $612 million through Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage, along with $282.5 million in crop insurance funding.

- Crop disaster assistance had the highest rate of improper payments (as a percentage of the program's total outlays), though improper spending was just $42.5 million.
SNAP shots: A recent report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that twice as many children would live in "deep poverty" without SNAP benefits, which lifted 1.9 million kids above half of the poverty line in 2016 - more than any other program.

A USDA report from last month showed that Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and West Virginia had the highest SNAP participation per capita in fiscal 2018.

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