Trump administration proposes big changes for SNAP benefits

Trump administration proposes big changes for SNAP benefits

The Trump administration describes the program in its 2019 budget as a "bold new approach to nutrition assistance" that combines existing SNAP benefits with "100-percent American grown foods provided directly to households", but the budget does not explain how the food will be delivered or other key details. Under it, households on $90 worth of food stamps a month or more would get half their benefits from what the USDA is touting as an "America's Harvest Box".

The U.S. Department of Agriculture developed the food delivery box idea internally and Office and Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said in a briefing Monday that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue "wanted to give it a chance".

"The Food Box Program is one of the most innovative things-actually, I think it originated at the USDA", said Mulvaney. Mulvaney's proposal would replace that with "America's Harvest Box", a mailed package of "100 percent US grown and produced food", with an emphasis on preserved items such as shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, canned meats and fruit and cereal, Politico reports.

In the 2019 budget and in interviews with reporters, Trump officials say they want to cut those cash benefits in half and replace them with nonperishable food. Foods which could possibly be included in the proposed food boxes include grains, canned meats, fruits and vegetables, juice, peanut butter and other canned items.

The program "will be administratively costly, inefficient, stigmatizing, and prone to failure", said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center. "The proposal to cut SNAP is deeply troubling", said Kate Maehr, executive director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, on Tuesday.

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We are old enough to remember when Michelle Obama was pilloried for suggesting that school lunches should include less salt and some vegetables beyond the tomatoes in the pizza sauce. The Trump administration said it wants to cut costs and that reducing the amount of money funding the SNAP program would save the country $17 billion next year, and billions more over a decade. It also makes sure they're getting nutritious food.

Critics immediately began questioning the effectiveness of the new program, which is supposedly created to cut costs - but raises many logistical and practical concerns.

"Despite significant economic improvements and a strong recovery in the job market, enrollment in welfare programs remains stubbornly high in many places around the Nation", President Trump stated to Congress. "These budget proposals for SNAP are the wrong way to go to provide healthy, safe, affordable food for all".

A spokesman for Congressman Dent says major changes to the SNAP program are best made in the context and during deliberation of the Farm Bill.

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