National budget could change food stamp policy

National budget could change food stamp policy
(Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The United States Government could be in charge of what goes on the dinner plates of more than 16 million Americans.

President Donald Trump is proposing legislation that would substitute EBT cards for food boxes delivered to doorsteps. This idea might sound convenient, but it would take away choice.

This comes after the USDA claims EBT card holders abuse their food stamps and purchase items in retail grocery stores other than food. The Trump Administration says this would also save the USDA $129 billion over the next decade.

Mick Mulvaney, the White House Budget Director, says, "It lowers the cost to us because we can buy prices at wholesale, whereas they have to buy it at retail. It also makes sure they're getting nutritious food, so we're pretty excited about that."

The Managing Attorney of the Georgia Legal Services, Bill Broker, says food stamps are a lifeline for many. He believes the current system is smart, efficient, and drastic change would be dangerous.

"Initially, I thought it might be a joke because it is such a radical departure from what we know," Broker said. "The SNAP, or food stamp program, is a bedrock of existence for a lot of very poor people."

Households that receive $90 or more in SNAP benefits would get a box of 100 percent U.S.-grown and produced food. The amount of food would be adjusted to the number of people who live there.

Broker says it may be healthy, but what about allergies? Dietary restrictions? The fact a hefty box of fresh produce might spoil more quickly than eaten, throwing food and this whole plan in the trash?

Grocery stores would be another group to receive a direct hit from this change. Walmart alone receives one-fifth of all food stamp sales.

While Congress debates this in session, 81 percent of food stamp participants might have to start training their taste buds to the government's menu.

We've reached out to several local supermarkets, but haven't gotten a response.

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