Trump Administration Plans To Remove 3.1 Million From Food Stamps Program

The Trump administration is set to announce a new set of guidelines that would remove approximately 3.1 million people from receiving food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Donald Trump

The Trump administration is set to announce a new set of guidelines that would remove approximately 3.1 million people from receiving food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Those most affected would be low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities.

Via Reuters:

Currently, 43 U.S. states allow residents to automatically become eligible for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, if they receive benefits from another federal program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, according to the USDA.

But the agency wants to require people who receive TANF benefits to pass a review of their income and assets to determine whether they are eligible for free food from SNAP, officials said.

If enacted, the rule would save the federal government about $2.5 billion a year by removing people from SNAP, according to the USDA.

President Trump has said that, given the current economy and low unemployment, many of those currently accessing SNAP don’t need it. Their removal could save nearly $15 billion a year.

There are currently about 36 million Americans, or about 12% of the total U.S. population, that received aid through the SNAP program. The average benefit per person is $121 a month.

Trump Proposes Replacing Food Stamps With Boxes Of Canned Foods

This guy wants to make sure SNAP recipients eat healthy

Stop the presses – we’ve now found the worst idea of the day.

Just now coming to light as part of Donald Trump’s proposed budget is a proposal to cut food stamp recipient’s funds in half and replace that with boxes of canned meats and fruits as well as shelf-stable milk.

The administration says it will help ensure that people only eat healthy food like the guy at the top of this post.

Wait – it gets worse.

From Politico:

White House OMB Director Mick Mulvaney on Monday hailed the idea as one that kept up with the modern era, calling it a “Blue Apron-type program” — a nod to the high-end meal kit delivery company that had one of the worst stock debuts in 2017 and has struggled to hold onto customers. Mulvaney said the administration’s plan would not only save the government money, but also provide people with more nutritious food than they have now.

The proposal, buried in the White House’s fiscal 2019 budget, would replace about half of the money most families receive via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, with what the Department of Agriculture is calling “America’s Harvest Box.” That package would be made up of “100 percent U.S. grown and produced food” and would include items like shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, canned fruits and meats, and cereal.

But America’s Harvest Box, which USDA contends would save over $129 billion over 10 years, is not very comparable to startup meal-delivery companies like Blue Apron. For one, the Trump administration’s proposal doesn’t include fresh items, like produce or meat, which are the core of Blue Apron and its competitors. Such products perish quickly and are incredibly expensive to ship.

A few obvious problems here. USDA spokesman Tim Murtaugh says that it would be left to states to decide how to deliver the “Harvest Boxes.” In other words, the government would pass the cost of delivering these boxes – many to rural areas – to the states. I’ll bet states are going to love that extra budgetary line item.

Also, the federal government has no logistical mechanism set up to do any of this. So, the federal bureaucracy conservatives hate would have to expand even more.

And, the impact on the grocery store industry – where food stamps purchases make up 7.5% of all sales – would be huge. According to reports, Walmart alone nabs 20% of food stamp sales.

You could guess that perhaps the administration is simply trying to make accepting food stamps as unattractive an option as possible.

US House Farm Bill cuts $8.7 billion in food stamps from primarliy blue states?

While the good news may be that the US House has passed the Farm Bill, the bad news is it contains $8.7 billion in food stamp cuts.

And it seems the cuts are pretty “strategic,” you might say. From Daily Kos:

Almost all of the food stamp cuts come from 16 states and the District of Columbia–the rest of the nation is left virtually untouched.

Further, 15 of these 16 states voted for President Obama twice, and 28 of its 32 senators are Democrats. In other words, these cuts are targeted overwhelmingly at poor folks in blue states.

As the bill heads to Senate, keep a watch to see how “strategic” those cuts stay. Seems kind of “political” to make so targeted, but hey, maybe that’s me…

Check out more at Daily Kos.

House votes 217-210 to cut $39 billion from food stamps

House majority leader Eric Cantor

The House narrowly approved a measure Thursday evening that would cut about $39 billion in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — better known as food stamps — over the next decade.

The vote – 217 to 210 – saw 15 Republicans vote against the measure. No Democrats voted for it.

Ironically, the overwhelming majority of Food Stamp recipients are in conservative/red states. I’ll be interested to see if the vote plays any factor in the 2014 elections.