President Trump Has a New Idea for Food Stamp Reform


Formerly known as Food Stamps, SNAP offers services to millions of individuals and families.

Households that receive $90 or more in SNAP benefits would get a box of 100 percent US -grown and produced food.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney likened the model to that of the dominant meal-kit delivery service, Blue Apron, and called it one of the most "innovative" ideas in the president's budget.

Currently, SNAP recipients get all of their benefits loaded onto a shopping card they can use at local stores, so long as they follow certain guidelines.

The Trump administration wants to replace food stamps for low-income Americans with boxes of non-perishable food items selected by the government. The food would be ordered by the government and delivered directly to participating consumers.

The plan is part of an effort to reform SNAP and save a projected $214 billion over a decade. The budget proposal also suggests that the change will reduce the potential for EBT fraud and improve the nutritional value of the benefit provided.

But these commodity boxes aren't seen as positive change within grocery store groups or food banking circles, and to explain further we're joined now by Angie Rodgers, president and CEO of the Association of Arizona Food Banks. And the food would not necessarily be delivered to people's homes, according to a fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees food stamps.

The changes, outlined Monday in Trump's budget proposal, would reshape the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which supports roughly one in eight Americans, by reducing cash spending by about one-third from current levels. Approximately 16.4 million households, or about 81 percent of SNAP households would be impacted by this proposal.

Reaction was muted on Capitol Hill, where both congressional agriculture committees are working on reauthorizations of the food stamp program as part of a farm law that expires September 30. A family of four eligible for SNAP must make no more than $31,980 per year, or less than 130 percent of the poverty line.

Families who would get the box of food would be ones who now get at least $90 a month.

"The food stamps give you an opportunity to go and choose what your kids like, what they want".

Mulvaney claimed that the change would allow the government to save almost $130 billion over 10 years, as it would lower government costs because it could buy the products at wholesale prices. "In addition, we must also fight against the other proposed eligibility and benefit cuts to SNAP that are just as radical and likely to gain traction in Congress".