WASHINGTON — The White House wants to shift some Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funding from purchases at retail stores to boxes of non-perishables shipped to homes.
In the 2019 budget document, the Trump administration says its “bold new approach” to managing the food assistance program will combine traditional benefits with U.S.-produced foods sent directly to households.
Calling it a "Blue Apron-type" program, it mimicks the food delivery service that sells weekly meal service kits that come with ingredients and recipes that are then cooked at home by the customer.
In a press briefing Feb. 13, director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney said the “America’s Harvest Box” would include cereals, pasta, beans, canned meat, shelf-stable milk, canned fruit and vegetables and peanut butter.
Fresh produce and other perishables are not included in the food box program, which the agency said would account for about half of the food stamp benefits.
SNAP recipients would purchase fresh produce and other fresh foods with the remaining benefit as they do now.
The new program, and other proposed reforms, is projected to cut $17 billion from the SNAP budget in fiscal year 2019 and $213 billion from the SNAP budget over 10 years.
"This sounds like something from the Great Depression, not 2018," Rep. Jim McGocern, D-Mass, tweeted, saying it could hurt small businesses and burden those who live in rural areas.
Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C., called it "expensive & unrealistic" in a tweet.
"As a single mother who relied on food stamps to help feed my boys, I can’t overstate how offensive this proposal is," Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., also tweeted. "Low-income families need more access to fresh produce & healthy foods, not less."