The Trump administration would oust 1 in every 12 SNAP recipients, a total of 3.1 million people, under a plan released today to restrict access to food stamps through so-called categorical eligibility. “Some states are taking advantage of a loophole” to load SNAP rolls, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
The U.S. House opened debate on a mammoth federal spending bill, including money for the USDA, on Tuesday under the threat of a presidential veto of the $322 billion bill. The White House said it opposed half a dozen USDA provisions in the bill, including language that would preclude relocating two research agencies to Kansas City and implementing a new inspection system for hog-slaughter plants.
U.S. farmers and ranchers face a host of problems that could be solved or greatly curtailed by scientific innovation. But the federal government has largely abandoned its role as a leading funder of agricultural research and development, writes Alan Leshner, CEO emeritus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in The Hill.
In budget proposals in 2017 and 2018, President Trump tried to slash funding for SNAP by about $200 billion over 10 years — roughly one-fourth of its total funding. Now, with Trump close to unveiling his fiscal 2020 budget package, the “hunger community” is concerned about a renewed call for massive cuts.
The Food for Peace program, created during the Cold War to relieve hunger overseas through the donation of U.S.-produced food, would be mothballed by the Trump administration in its fiscal 2019 budget. In its place, the State Department would provide emergency food aid through a smaller-ticket disaster assistance office that is expected to be thriftier and fleeter of foot.
The budget agreement written by Senate leaders includes more than $1 billion for dairy supports as well as larger subsidies for cotton growers. Besides providing immediate assistance to producers, the provisions would mean that farm-state lawmakers can spend more money on cotton and dairy in the 2018 farm bill than is available now.
Producers enrolled a record 311.5 million acres in the federal crop insurance program in 2017, topping the previous mark of 295.9 million acres in 2015, says USDA data. The taxpayer-subsidized program, the largest federal support for growers, is expected to be a target for reformers during debate on the 2018 farm bill.
Reviving a White House budget theme, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Americans do not believe food stamps should be “a permanent lifestyle” for able-bodied adults without dependents.
The $1.5 trillion tax-cut package unveiled by House Republicans would eliminate the estate tax – the most-hated tax in agriculture – in 2023, while allowing larger deductions for purchases of equipment, according to the Ways and Means Committee. Farm groups were muted in their comments as they assessed the 429-page bill.