Friday, 22 March, 2019

SNAP program would be replaced with meal kits, according to Trump's proposal

SNAP program would be replaced with meal kits, according to Trump's proposal SNAP program would be replaced with meal kits, according to Trump's proposal
Patty Aguilar | 14 February, 2018, 16:41

The government has hailed it as a "Blue Apron-type program", giving the ingredient-and-recipe meal-kit service invaluable free exposure.

The proposed plan would replace about half of the program's cash benefits while recipients would still receive the other half as they always have. The rest of the benefits would be placed on electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards for use at grocery stores as is allowed under the current SNAP system.

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

The box would include staples like shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, canned fruits and meats, and cereal.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the program would send food boxes to 16.4 million households, representing 81% of SNAP households. The Trump administration's proposal, he said, 'is a far more intrusive, Big Government answer.

"The budget presents a vision in which struggling families face more and more obstacles just to get by, weakening the very programs that provide stability and opportunity in our communities", Montana Food Bank Network CEO Gayle Carlson said in a statement Tuesday. "So we're pretty excited about that", Mulvaney said during the briefing Monday.

The president's budget would reduce the SNAP program by roughly $213 billion over the next ten years.

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That the food-box approach has been tried only in small demonstration projects and never been seriously discussed during dozens of congressional hearings on the SNAP program in recent years did not stop administration officials from putting the force of Mr. Trump's presidency behind it.

SNAP relies on the private sector to provide access to food and beneficiaries to shop according to their needs and preferences.

This and other changes in the SNAP program, according to the Trump administration, will reduce the SNAP budget by $213 billion over those years - cutting the program by nearly 30 percent.

"USDA America's Harvest Box is a bold, innovative approach to providing nutritious food to people who need assistance feeding themselves and their families - and all of it home-grown by American farmers and producers", Perdue said.

The proposal would save almost $130 billion over 10 years, as well as improve the nutritional value of the program and reduce the potential for fraud, according to the administration. Alcohol, pet food, household supplies and medicine are among the items that can not be purchased using SNAP benefits. The Food Marketing Institute told the Washington Post that the proposal is not efficient, expensive and won't show savings in the long-term. It's one of the most important safety net programs in the U.S.

The budget also proposed changes to income and benefits calculations, modifying working age definitions and eliminating certain exemptions. The President's Budget Request would change the fundamental structure of the program, add costly administrative burden, and restrict the choices of beneficiaries.

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