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14 February 2018, 05:42 | Bernice Figueroa
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"It's a risky scheme that threatens families' ability to put food on the table", said Stacy Dean, vice president for food assistance policy at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Stacy Dean, vice president for food assistance policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said the proposed cuts to SNAP account for almost 30 percent of the program.
Under the proposal, only a fraction of SNAP benefits delivered to households that now receive $90 or more per month would be delivered through the traditional retail-based Electronic Benefit Transfer card that allows recipients to buy approved foods from grocery retailers.
In Montana, the benefits are distributed through the electronic benefit transfer, or EBT, system.
The food bank helps feed about 200,000 people across the Mid-South who are food insecure, which means they do not know when they'll eat again. Instead a new proposed "USDA Foods Package" within the new budget will only include these items; ready to east cereals, pasta, shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables. The change affects more than 80 percent of recipients, who receive more than $90 a month in SNAP benefits. Trump should trust Americans to buy the food that's right for their families - and not implement programs that may wind up costing taxpayers more than they're worth. "So we're pretty excited about that", Mulvaney said during the briefing Monday.
The administration's 2019 budget proposal is only a request, and Congress ultimately has to approve of government spending.
But Mulvaney did not explain how the program would work, other than that the USDA would advise states to deliver the food using "existing infrastructure".
However, she said having no fresh fruits and vegetables in the box, as well as recipients not being able to choose what goes into their own, concerns her.
Workers at the Weinberg food bank find the proposal impractical.
Lori Ladas, executive director of Rocky Mountain Development Council in Helena, said the proposal also includes eliminating the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known as LIHEAP, a weatherization program and the Community Services Block Grant, or CSBG.
He was surprised to learn about the food box proposal. The federal government proposes giving recipients less cash on their EBT card in exchange for a box of non-perishable food. Dollar General and Dollar Tree's Family Dollar division have signaled that food stamps account for roughly 5 percent of sales, according to Gordon Haskett Research Advisors analyst Chuck Grom.
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