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President Trump Has a New Idea for Food Stamp Reform
February 21 2018, 05:33 | Irvin Gilbert
USDA Eyeing Changes To Federal Food Benefit Program That Would Give States More Control | Harvest Public Media
While its unclear exactly how states would choose to distribute the items, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney called the new boxes a "Blue Apron-type program", referring to the popular meal-kit company.
"We shared with Secretary Perdue that even a ten percent cut-which was threatened in the last Farm Bill in 2014-would cause demand to nearly double for our food bank", Arthur said.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is now created to allow recipients to choose what they spend their benefits on when they shop at an approved retailer. He received electronic benefits each month on a card. Would this mean the government dictated the foods each family gets - say, Wheaties instead of Corn Pops, chunky peanut butter instead of smooth? The change affects more than 80 percent of recipients, who receive more than $90 a month in SNAP benefits. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that it could supply these goods at about half the cost of retail, enabling it to reduce the cost of SNAP while still feeding the needy.
"So if this starts to be phased out that's going to put a greater strain on our resources, because when people can't get those benefits, they are going to come to our partner agencies because people still have to get their nutrition", Wells said. "So we're pretty excited about that", Mulvaney said during the briefing Monday.
The USDA predicts that this change could save over $129 billion in ten years, and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is hailing the plan as a "bold, innovative approach" that would save taxpayers money while delivering the same "level of food value".
The budget expanded on the administration's "previous proposals to strengthen expectations for work among able-bodied adults, preserve benefits for those most in need, promote efficiency in State operations, and improve program integrity".
The boxes would serve American farmers and food packagers because the groceries would be made in America. "States will have substantial flexibility in designing the food box delivery system through existing infrastructure, partnerships, or commercial/retail delivery services".
No fresh fruits or vegetables were listed among the items in the stable of foods that potentially would be sent to recipients, nor was there any indication of accommodations for health, cultural, religious or regional concerns. Dollar General and Dollar Tree's Family Dollar division have signaled that food stamps account for roughly 5 percent of sales, according to Gordon Haskett Research Advisors analyst Chuck Grom.
Representatives of grocery stores were also concerned, with the Food Marketing Institute, a trade organization, arguing that the program would be costly and inefficient.
"The SNAP program is incredibly important to people in our community who are living on a very limited income and need help getting food", Day said Tuesday.