The House will vote as early as Tuesday on a mammoth government funding bill that allots an additional $1.5 billion for disaster relief for agriculture and rejects the 25 percent cut in SNAP benefits proposed by President Trump. The disaster funding is a 50 percent increase from $3.1 billion appropriated in June to help producers hit by hurricanes, wildfires, volcanoes, freezes and floods.
The White House proposed a $19 billion cut in food stamps for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1, achieving the 25 percent reduction in SNAP mainly by putting forward, once again, "America's Harvest Box" of canned and nonperishable food. The administration also proposed on Monday to apply SNAP work requirements more broadly and to include older Americans in them. Both ideas were rejected last year by lawmakers.
Farmers would pay a far larger share of crop insurance premiums — 52 percent instead of the current 38 percent — under the fiscal 2020 budget proposed by President Trump on Monday. The White House also wants to deny farm program benefits to people with an adjusted gross income above $500,000 a year vs. the current cutoff of $900,000 AGI.
The Agriculture Department faces large spending cuts, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Monday while a White House official said President Trump will ask for one "one of the largest spending reductions in history" in the upcoming fiscal 2020 budget. Perdue told reporters that he encouraged the administration to submit a package "within the realm of negotiation," considering Congress rejected outright Trump's previous budgets.
The Environmental Protection Network, a group of former employees of the Environmental Protection Agency, released a report slamming President Trump’s 2019 budget. The group says that if the budget is approved by Congress, its effects on the EPA “would be more punishing than for any other federal agency.”
The largest U.S. farm group and the crop insurance industry say President Trump's proposals to slash crop insurance funding and to deny farm payments to the wealthiest producers will have no lasting impact.
The Trump administration wants to restrict the ability of "aggressive" states to evade the 90-day limit on food stamps to able-bodied adults, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue during a House hearing. Asked by reporters if other changes would be requested in food stamps, Perdue said he lacked the authority to block waivers from the 90-day rule and said, "I think you'll see some good suggestions in the farm bill (and) in the budget coming out as well."
Congress could just as easily extend the 2014 farm law, with add-ons to fix cotton and dairy subsidies, as pass a new farm bill this year, said Texas A&M economist James Richardson, a farm policy expert.
Enrollment in food stamps, the premiere U.S. antihunger program, soared after the 2008-09 recession, prompting conservative lawmakers to say middle-class taxpayers could not afford the program. With the economic recovery, CBO estimates food stamp participation this year will be the lowest since 2010 and will decline annually through 2027.