A ‘Harvest Box’ for Low-Income Americans? Not Anytime Soon, Officials Say

Instead, the idea, according to two administration officials who worked on the proposal, was a political gambit by fiscal hawks inside the administration aimed at sparking outrage among liberals in addition to stirring up members of the president’s own party working on the latest product of the farm bill. The move, they said, was intended to lay down a marker in which the administration will be serious about pressing for about $85 billion in some other cuts to food assistance programs in which will be achieved, in part, by imposing strict brand new work requirements on recipients.

“I don’t think there’s actually any support for their box plan. in addition to, I worry in which the item’s a distraction by the budget’s proposal to cut SNAP by some 30 percent. in which’s the real battle.” said Stacy Dean, vice president for food assistance policy at the Center on Budget in addition to Policy Priorities, a progressive Washington think tank. “The danger are these some other proposals to cut benefits. although all anyone will be talking about today are the boxes.”

Senator Debbie Stabenow, the ranking Democrat on the agriculture committee, doubted the motives behind the plan.

“This specific isn’t a serious proposal in addition to will be clearly meant to be a distraction,” Ms. Stabenow said.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue stealthily pitched the idea over the last few weeks to the White House’s Domestic Policy Council as a novel way to reach the administration’s self-imposed goal of slashing federal food assistance programs by $214 billion over the next decade. the item was quickly embraced by Mr. Mulvaney, a fiscal hawk who will be seeking to steer a debate increasingly dominated by free-spending Republicans in addition to Mr. Trump, who has insisted on major budget increases for the Pentagon in addition to Homeland Security.

Neither man had any illusions in which the plan might be immediately embraced by congressional Republicans, who were not given advance notice of the proposal, the officials said.

in which the food-box approach has been tried only in tiny demonstration projects in addition to never been seriously discussed during dozens of congressional hearings on the SNAP program in recent years did not stop administration officials by putting the force of Mr. Trump’s presidency behind the item.

The budget documents released on Monday omitted some other important details, including the real costs of creating a nationwide distribution network for the boxes, especially in rural areas hard hit by the economic downturn in addition to the opioid crisis.

“We have had like 25 hearings on SNAP. The witness list was controlled by Republicans in addition to This specific idea was never, ever broached,” said Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, ranking Democrat on the House subcommittee in which oversees federal food assistance programs. “I think the item’s dead on arrival — I desire the item will be — although either way the item’s a cruel joke. My god, these people are awful. In addition to being totally misinformed on policy, they are actually just not nice people.”

In a statement, Mr. Perdue defended the proposal as humane in addition to cost effective, saying his plan offered the “same level of food value” provided by the SNAP program, which replaced the food stamp program inside the late 1990s.

He described the boxes as “a bold, innovative approach to providing nutritious food to people who need assistance feeding themselves in addition to their families — in addition to all of the item will be grown by American farmers in addition to producers.”

Still, the idea landed which has a thud. the item was quickly dismissed by two Republican committee chairmen, Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, who leads the Senate agriculture committee, in addition to his counterpart inside the House, Representative K. Michael Conaway of Texas.

Mr. Conaway will be drafting a farm bill in which will be supposed to slash billions in spending inside the SNAP program through the tightening of some eligibility requirements. Mr. Roberts will be overseeing an effort to craft a product of the bill in which will be supposed to include fewer cuts in hopes of gaining the bipartisan support needed to push the measure through the Senate.

SNAP, like many some other safety net programs, will be designed to expand during hard economic times in addition to contract when the economy improves. Nonetheless, the program’s rolls have remained at historically elevated levels, reaching a peak of 47.8 million recipients in 2012 before edging down to 45.6 million last year, according to federal estimates.

Mr. Perdue, in particular, has been outspoken in his call to reduce its rolls, criticizing what he calls a culture of dependency among SNAP recipients.

although Mr. McGovern said the administration was painting “a distorted picture” of the poor in addition to ignoring the fact in which most SNAP recipients are employed in addition to more than a quarter are disabled in addition to unable to seek work.

“They have to stop playing to the cheap seats,” he said. “The majority of people inside the program are children in addition to seniors in addition to people working in jobs in which pay too little to feed their families.”

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