Walmart, McDonald's among largest employers of SNAP, Medicaid recipients: Report

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Some of the United States’ largest corporations, including McDonald’s and Walmart, employ thousands of workers who receive aid from federal assistance programs such as food stamps and Medicaid, according to the findings of a U.S. Government Accountability Office report commissioned by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

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The nonpartisan watchdog agency’s analysis of data from the Census Bureau, as well as 15 state agencies across 11 states, found that “millions” of full-time workers rely on government assistance to make ends meet. The report focused on Medicaid benefits as well as recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

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Walmart ranked among the top four largest employees of SNAP and Medicaid benefits in the states whose data was included in the report, employing an estimated 14,500 workers who received food stamps, according to the GAO report’s findings. McDonald’s was listed in the top five for at least nine states and was said to employ nearly 8,800 workers who received SNAP assistance within the data set.

Other notable companies appearing in the report included Amazon, Kroger, Uber and FedEx.

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“Most working adults in the programs worked for private-sector employers concentrated in certain industries, including restaurants, department stores, and grocery stores,” the GAO’s report said.

The Washington Post was first to report on the numbers.

Representatives for Walmart and McDonald’s did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the report. However, both companies noted their status as top U.S. employers in their responses to the Washington Post.

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Sanders reacted to the GAO report’s findings in a scathing tweet in which he accused a list of companies, including McDonald’s and Walmart, of paying “starvation wages” to their employees.

“This is what a rigged economy is about,” Sanders wrote. “We need a $15 living wage and Medicare for All.”

Sanders’ office did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

Sanders and other Democratic leaders have advocated in recent years for the implementation of a $15 federal minimum wage. President-elect Joe Biden has signaled that he intends to support the proposed wage hike.

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