Proposed 2019 Budget Seeks Major Revamp to USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also colloquially known as the “Food Stamps” Program. SNAP, through State Agency partners, offers nutrition assistance to more than 47 million eligible, low-income individuals and families.
The Trump Administration’s proposed 2019 budget seeks to overhaul SNAP. In particular, the budget request proposes that more than 80 percent of SNAP recipients would receive about half of their benefits in the form of a monthly America’s Harvest Box with items such as juice, grains, ready-eat-cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, and canned fruits and vegetables, which would replace about half of their current SNAP benefits. The remaining SNAP benefits would go on debit cards to be used in grocery stores. (Currently, SNAP beneficiaries get money loaded onto an EBT card they can use to buy any foods that fall under the guidelines). T
The Administration is touting the proposed overhaul as a “cost-effective approach” with “no loss in food benefits to participants.” Last year, Congress largely ignored the Trump’s administrations proposed budget for SNAP, when he sought to cut funding by a quarter. 2019 is a farm bill year, however. This means that many budgetary decisions will be made among the House and Senate agriculture committees. The food industry, of course, has a vested interest in how this all transpires and would likely coalesce to oppose any legislative or policy initiatives that would have the effect of curtailing eligible SNAP products and hence restricting consumer choice.