Food bank says proposed SNAP changes would make program more expensive

USDA Eyeing Changes To Federal Food Benefit Program That Would Give States More Control | Harvest Public Media

This plan is part of a $213 billion or 30 percent proposed reduction in SNAP, which serves 42 million people, including 20 million children, over 10 years, $17 billion in 2019.

Trump also proposed cutting a federal housing subsidy program, known as Section 8 vouchers, by almost $1 billion, which Yentel said would affect more than 250,000 low-income families. But on the other hand with food stamps driving 7.5%of sales in grocery stores like Aldi and Walmart some who are against the proposal say it could be detrimental for those in the retail industry.

Under the government's current program, food stamp recipients use a payment card, similar to a debit card, to buy food, and the USDA has strict rules about what can be bought with the benefits.

According to the Trump administration's 2019 budget, the boxes would contain shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, juice, canned meat poultry or fish, pasta, cereals, and canned fruits and vegetables.

Families would also be required to pick up their Harvest Box, which would be valued at about half of the recipient's monthly benefit, according to reports.

Critics of the proposal said distributing that much food presents a logistical nightmare.

Hunger Free America CEO Joel Berg told NPR, "They have managed to propose almost the impossible, taking over $200 billion worth of food from low-income Americans while increasing bureaucracy and reducing choices". "We know SNAP works now, when people can choose what they need".

The proposal would affect 38 million people. That's money taken out of your paycheck to fund these programs and then thrown away. Under the administration's proposal, states would no longer be able to do so. Sonny Perdue said in a release. That represents about 81 percent of those participating in what is formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Less than two months ago, the GOP passed a $1.5 trillion tax cut in which billionaires get the vast majority of benefits, while the majority of middle class get something like $18/week. The budget couldn't pass Congress.

Explained Hatcher: "FMI and our members have worked with the House and Senate Agriculture Committees and the USDA over several decades to achieve a national system, utilizing existing commercial infrastructure and technology to achieve the greatest efficiency, availability and lowest cost".

Grocery stores would be another group to receive a direct hit from this change.

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.