White House Wants To Deliver Food To The Poor, Blue Apron-Style

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The Trump administration is proposing a drastic change to how millions of people in the US receive food stamps by replacing cards with an equivalent cash value with a "Blue Apron-type" delivery box of food purchased by the government.

Current USDA requirements say that able-bodied adults without children can only get three months of food stamps in three years unless they work or participate in a job training program at least 20 hours a week. The proposed budget, released Monday, would gut SNAP benefits by $17.2 billion in 2019, about 22 percent of the program's total cost past year.

Changes could be on the way to the country's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The proposal puts the United States government directly in charge of what kind of food ends up on the dinner tables of SNAP recipients, and it's causing some controversy.

Mrs. Jones said she also preferred some level of choice for those using the benefit.

"SNAP is most successful government program we have today", said Craig Gundersun, a professor of agriculture and economics at the University of IL who has studied SNAP for the past twenty years.

"I don't want to steal somebody's copyright - but a Blue Apron-type program where you actually receive the food instead of receive the cash", Mulvaney said at a briefing at the White House on Monday.

But that could change, if the USDA proposal, America's Harvest Box, is passed.

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Critics of the proposal said distributing that much food presents a logistical nightmare.

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. The budget says states will have "substantial flexibility in designing the food box delivery system through existing infrastructure, partnerships or commercial/retail delivery services".

The Trump administration proposal could shake up the country's largest program created to battle domestic hunger issues.

The USDA believes that state governments will be able to deliver this food at much less cost than SNAP recipients now pay for food at retail stores - thus reducing the overall cost of the SNAP program by $129 billion over the next 10 years. The main reason it does well is that it gives families the autonomy and dignity to pick out SNAP budgets.

"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 is homegrown by American farmers and producers", Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in the proposal.

This week, charities such as the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona are fearing they will be overwhelmed if the cuts are approved by Congress.

But a leaked draft bill, circulated in recent weeks and reviewed by The Associated Press, outlines what those changes could look like. Even so, Weill says, "Whenever you see proposals like this that attack [SNAP].it harms the program even if it doesn't pass, in the long term reducing support for the program and stigmatizing people who use it".