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Trump's Blue Apron-style plan to replace food stamps savaged online

Trump's Blue Apron-style plan to replace food stamps savaged online

The new suggestion, written in the 2019 budget proposal, would take half of the money people get from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and instead send families a box of hand-picked, nonperishable items called "America's Harvest Box", reports Politico.

As many as 17 million low-income households receive SNAP benefits, commonly known as food stamps.

Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney said the cuts would save the government close to 130 billion dollars over the next 10 years and would still provide healthy nutritious foods to millions of Americans.

Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary, called the new proposal a "bold, innovative approach", noting that the food placed in the box would be grown by American farmers and producers. Mulvaney's proposal would replace that with "America's Harvest Box", a mailed package of "100 percent US grown and produced food", with an emphasis on preserved items such as shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, canned meats and fruit and cereal, Politico reports.

In the proposal, the Trump administration said they plan to share relevant data with states while also holding them accountable.

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Stricter work requirements would be enacted for households with able-bodied adults to continue to receive food stamps under the "Welfare to Work" section of Trump's proposed budget.

"It's Congress in the end which has the say in funding levels and delivering benefits for food programs", Young said. "Holy mackerel", said Concannon, who compared it to an era when poor people had to line up and wait for food and welfare benefits to be distributed. Instead, the program would be converted to a system in which the government provided either a block grant or a per-person cap, while freeing states from federal rules for medical benefits and eligibility. Currently, SNAP beneficiaries can buy what they want with all of their monthly benefits as long as it falls under the guidelines.

Allergies and religious restrictions can be accommodated for, said the USDA spokesperson, although they did not respond to specific questions about whether people can choose items based on what they like to eat.

A spokesman for Congressman Dent says major changes to the SNAP program are best made in the context and during deliberation of the Farm Bill.

Indeed, issues such as allergies, bowel difficulties, and even simple preferences would invariably make the program a hard sell to food stamp recipients, much less to state governments that would have to implement such an initiative. In 2017, the USDA noted that the rate of trafficked SNAP benefits is just 1.3%. Even so, Weill says, "Whenever you see proposals like this that attack [SNAP] ... it harms the program even if it doesn't pass, in the long term reducing support for the program and stigmatizing people who use it".


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