Possible changes coming to SNAP


White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney compared it to high-end meal delivery kit service Blue Apron.

Under the plan, the amount of food a household receives would be scaled to the size of the allotment, with about half of the assistance coming as food instead of cash.

It would be called "America's Harvest Box", and it would include a slew of food products grown and produced in the USA to to people enrolled in the program.

The box would contain items such as shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, canned meat, poultry or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables and be valued at about half of a SNAP recipient's monthly benefit.

"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", Berg says.

Having the government buy people's food would be less efficient than letting them buy it themselves, said Stacy Dean, a nutrition assistance expert at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

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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. "So we're pretty excited about that".

Mulvaney told reporters that the program would serve "nutritious" food and save the United States an estimated $129 billion over ten years.

The proposal is included in the Trump administration budget request for fiscal year 2019. Approximately 16.4 million households, or about 81 percent of SNAP households would be impacted by this proposal. As the Center for American Progress noted in a memo, this budget also calls for "huge cuts" to federal affordable housing programs, eliminates home heating assistance, and takes housing away from those who can not find work.

The Food Marketing Institute - which represents major stores, like Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons - is doing everything in their power to advocate against this proposal.

The food stamp program costs about $1.37 per meal. "To change your diet", said Afemo Omilami of Hosea Helps. The USDA already buys commodities for other programs, such as the National School Lunch Program, and states would largely be in charge of distribution, the department said. Instead of a debit card style system the President wants to deliver food boxes to recipients similar to commercial services like blue apron.

"The projected savings do not include shipping door-to-door for all recipients", USDA spokesman Tim Murtaugh clarified in a statement to Politico, which reported that anti-hunger advocates found the proposal so outrageous they initially thought it was a joke.