On February 12, President Trump submitted his proposed budget for FY 2019. This proposal outlines the administration’s recommendations to Congress on how to prioritize spending, so while it’s unlikely to be implemented as is, it provides important insight into the administration’s goals.
Included in the plan were several proposals that would dramatically weaken our national response to hunger. The plan included structural changes to SNAP that would cut the program by $213 billion over 10 years. Central to these structural changes is a plan to provide half of every beneficiary’s food assistance via a monthly box of shelf stable foods. This would undermine the basic dignity that comes from allowing SNAP recipients to shop for groceries like anyone else, increase federal and state bureaucracy, increase the need for infrastructure and logistics to distribute the food boxes, and unnecessarily alter a program that is currently working as it was intended.
The budget would also inexplicably eliminate the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), which each month provides nutritious USDA foods to supplement the diets of thousands of older Mainers, and SNAP Education, which provides cooking and nutrition resources to SNAP recipients. These cuts to nutrition programs, when coupled with proposed cuts to housing, healthcare, LIHEAP, and other programs, would have a devastating impact on Mainers living in poverty.