Trump administration proposes plan to deliver food to low-income households

Pauline Gross
February 14, 2018

That box would include staples like shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, canned fruits and meats, and cereal. "There is no reason to move away from the way SNAP now works, which allows families to shop at their local grocery store and make their own food choices".

He compared the proposed delivery service, which the USDA is calling "America's Harvest Box", to "a Blue Apron-type program where you actually receive the food instead of [receiving] the cash".

He says SNAP is efficient because it is a "free market model" that lets recipients shop at stores for their benefits. The food would be ordered by the government and delivered directly to participating consumers.

Families would also be required to pick up their Harvest Box, which would be valued at about half of the recipient's monthly benefit, according to reports.

Back in 2011, Donald Trump railed about a "food stamp crime wave" in his book "Time to Get Tough", arguing that benefits should be only temporary and that the Obama Administration had loosened the rules too much.

The Food Research and Action Center, a nonprofit working to end hunger in the USA, blasted the proposal.

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

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What's in President Trump's $4.4tn budget for 2019? Perdue said in early December that he wanted states to have more flexibility in doling out SNAP, announcing the agency wanted to hear about programs from states that don't increase the cost of the program and will combat what he said is fraud and waste.

The proposal would impact more than 16 million people - or roughly 81% of those receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, according to the Department of Agriculture.

In The Washington Post, Mulvaney characterized the proposed initiative as allowing enrollees to "receive the food instead of. the cash", further explaining, "It lowers the cost to us because we can buy [at wholesale prices], whereas they have to buy it at retail".

The program "will be administratively costly, inefficient, stigmatizing, and prone to failure", said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center. That represents more than 80 percent of the program's recipients. "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".

The budget Mulvaney was outlining would spend $17 billion less on food stamps in 2019 - and about $213 billion less over the next decade - while making other cuts to federal safety net programs such as Medicaid. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program, as it's known, is restricted to people who are poor and at least 60 years old.

She said the proposal, if enacted, "would be devastating for the one-in-eight Americans who use SNAP to put food on the table every day". 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.

Other reports by GizPress

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