Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has long spoken out against the “permanent lifestyle” of able-bodied adults who receive food stamps. Now the USDA is asking how it can more stringently enforce its 90-day limit on benefits to those who work fewer than 20 hours a week.
At the annual USDA Ag Outlook Forum, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue doubled down on his support for the recently proposed “Harvest Box” food stamp program. Perdue provided some elaboration on his vision for the program but offered little evidence of growing support. (No paywall)
According to Gov. Scott Walker, “Wisconsin continues to lead the way on welfare reform,” including legislation that requires more of its residents to work more hours per week, or spend more time in job training, to receive food stamps for more than 90 days.
The Trump administration proposal to replace half of food stamp benefits with a monthly box of food for program participants “would put families’ basic food security at risk,” says the think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Two administration officials “who worked on the idea” say the White House proposal of a monthly “Harvest Box” of preselected food for poor Americans “was intended to lay down a marker that the administration is serious” about revamping the food stamp program, said the New York Times.
President Trump would slash food stamp spending by 30 percent over the next decade by cutting enrollment 6 percent and giving recipients half of their benefits in a monthly box of U.S.-grown food. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the "America's Harvest Box" was "a bold, innovative approach to providing nutritious food" that would cost far less than the current system of letting food stamp participants buy food on their own.
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."
Stricter work requirements for food stamp recipients, particularly able-bodied adults, “can increase earnings and training,” but they can also mean a loss of benefits for people who can’t find a job, says a USDA report. Only five states currently guarantee a slot in a job-training or workfare program to able-bodied adults who are jobless and at risk of losing their benefits.
On the same day that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue released a 42-point list of farm bill principles, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said the 2018 bill should end the “dishonest” practice of crop subsidy payments to non-farmers.