Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Business | By Max Garcia

Trump Budget Aims to Cut SNAP Benefits

Trump Budget Aims to Cut SNAP Benefits

Instead of a debit card style system the President wants to deliver food boxes to recipients similar to commercial services like blue apron.

President Trump is looking to cut as much as $17.2 billion dollars from the Federal SNAP Program and replace its funding with a boxed food delivery program.

All food would be grown domestically and include "shelf-stable" items such as juice, pasta, canned meat, and beans.

The proposed budget also eliminates a critical program for low income seniors called the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

The plan is said to save the government money and provide families with more nutritious options than what the food stamps now provide.

Though they are considering changes to food stamps, members of Congress will nearly certainly ignore the Trump administration's beans-and-rice scheme when they begin the legislative process of reauthorizing SNAP this year.

But Trump's proposal would require people who receive at least $90 a month from the program to get about half of their benefits in the form of a "USDA food package", rather than by purchasing the food themselves, NPR reported.

The Food Marketing Institute, which has grocery stores and pharmacies as members, challenged the idea that food boxes would save money.

"I'm not happy with it", said Starla Emery. They also fear it would be hard for families to pick up a box of food if they don't have a vehicle.

In a statement to WBOC, Maryland Republican Congressman Andy Harris said the proposal that will spend money on food grown in the US will be of "great benefit to farmers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland".

"I do not think we would have the space, the man power, the logistics involved to try and get that out", Rich Kutz, Director of the Weinberg Food Bank.

Questions still remain how these packages will conform to families with different needs such as a family with nut allergies or those who don't eat a certain food for religious or personal beliefs. They would be required to pay for that box with their benefits. Kevin Concannon, who oversaw SNAP during the Obama administration, also wasn't in favor of the measure.

She says the Double SNAP program offers SNAP recipients a two for one incentive when they buy from local farmer's markets.

SNAP recipients in the commonwealth spent more $2.7 billion in benefits in the 2017 fiscal year.

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