Trump’s proposed budget for 2019 has been released, and it slaps some pretty severe restrictions on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients.
The proposal requires that people receiving more than $90 per month in SNAP benefits get a “USDA food package” instead of shopping for food themselves. However, the proposed package would not contain any fresh fruit or vegetables, but would consist of “shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables." This change in the program would affect more than 80% off its recipients.
Trump's plan shrinks SNAP’s budget by $213 billion over the next 10 years, a 30% decrease in funding. A number of groups have already begun criticizing Trump’s plan because it reduces the help available to to lower income Americans. Another criticism points out the logistical nightmare of delivering the “food packages.”
Not everyone's a critic though, Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue, defended Trump’s plan calling it a “bold, innovative approach.” He also said, “It maintains the same level of food value as SNAP participants currently receive, provides states flexibility in administering the program, and is responsible to the taxpayers.”
Around 80% of the USDA’s budget goes to SNAP, about $70.9 billion annually, but it feeds 44 million Americans per month. Any change to the budget would need to be approved by the House and Senate agriculture committees.
There is still hope for the program though, because Congress basically ignored Trump’s last request to cut SNAP funds. Hopefully, they will see the ridiculousness of his current proposal as well.