Food stamp enrollment will remain high well into 2023 due to the lingering effects of the pandemic and its disruption of the U.S. economy, said the Agriculture Department in its proposed budget for the new fiscal year. It estimated an average 43.5 million people would receive food stamps during fiscal 2023, a 3 percent increase from this year.
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.
With House Republicans bogged down in budget discussions, the conservative group Heritage Action accused Agriculture Committee chairman Michael Conaway of being unwilling “to cut a paltry amount of federal spending from his committee.” A spokeswoman for Conaway called the criticism part of “Heritage Action’s long-running campaign against America’s farmers and ranchers.”
House Republicans are expected to caucus today to discuss a budget package that reportedly increases military spending while cutting domestic programs. The food stamp program is commonly mentioned as a target in government-wide cuts to domestic spending that could total $150 billion over 10 years.
The Trump administration is considering a different way to manage endangered species. The new approach is based on an algorithm that would channel funds toward plants and animals that have the greatest chance of survival—and away from others.
For the second time in a week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told lawmakers that government is a greater threat to U.S. farmers than drought or disease. And in nearly the same words at two House hearings, he offered the might of the U.S. government to boost farm income through larger food and ag exports.
President Trump’s budget slashes all funding to the Chesapeake Bay cleanup program, but environmental activists and bipartisan supporters of the program say they are prepared for a sustained fight with the President, says The Washington Post.
Farm-state lawmakers were chilly to icily dismissive of President Trump's proposals for large cuts in programs helping agriculture and rural communities. North Dakota Republican John Hoeven, who chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommittee in charge of the USDA and FDA budget said the proposal was unfair given the three-year slump in the farm economy.
The Trump Administration budget calls for cutting EPA jobs by one fifth — from 15,000 to 12,000 — and slicing the agency’s annual budget from $8.2 billion a year to $6.1 billion, says The Washington Post.