Trump budget mandates work, reduces funds for aid recipients

17 February, 2018, 01:17 | Author: Julian Swanson
  • Think inside the box

In an effort to save billions of dollars over the next ten years, the Trump administration has proposed replacing a portion of the food stamp program with actual boxes of food delivered to low-income families.

The new program is called "America's Harvest Box".

Whether food stamp recipients should be more restricted in the foods they can buy with their benefits is a matter of much debate that crosses party lines.

The box, coined as "USDA America's Harvest Box", would include food grown by American farmers including milk, juice, cereals, pasta, canned produce, and more, according to the administration's proposal.

"To eliminate it completely would really affect us as well because there are 700-1000 seniors that we currently serve in our area right now that are on that program that we would have to say sorry, we can no longer do that and we don't want to do that", said Wilson. "The goal of all these programs; SNAP, TEFAP, WIC, and the food pantries is to build people up when they're in a vulnerable state".

Under the plan, more than 16 million households would have half of their benefits go toward the food box delivery program.

"It would reduce benefits and undercut the program's efficiency and effectiveness", she said".

The budget proposal claims $129.2 billion would be saved over the next 10 years by giving people food boxes instead of all their benefits in EBT money.

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 USDA said in a statement that states will be given flexibility to distribute the food.

Other advocates said that the food box proposal was more of a distraction from other cuts and changes in the proposed budgets, like support for additional work requirements that could make it harder for some people to be eligible for benefits. Mulvaney said that the program will significantly lower the costs of feeding the low-income households in the US. "They think a bureaucrat in better at picking out what your family needs than you are?" "If those proposals move further, I think it would be important for the helping agencies and non-profits like the Mississippi Food Network, for the Society of St. Andrew, for food pantries, to really make SNAP participants aware of those different benefits and the other things out there".

What's in President Trump's $4.4tn budget for 2019?

But a leaked draft bill, circulated in recent weeks and reviewed by The Associated Press, outlines what those changes could look like. "Most people on (SNAP) don't want to be on it".

Several critics we spoke with expressed skepticism that the proposed SNAP changes would pass in Congress.

"You put another nail in the coffin", he said.


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