Last week President Donald Trump unveiled his budget priorities — and one of the more startling proposals was a dramatic restructuring of how poor people receive food assistance. Most people who participate in SNAP — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — are seniors and children.
Trump’s plan suggests people who get food stamps should receive half as much money to spend on food, and instead be given an occasional box full of shelf-stable foods — cereals, canned vegetables and fruits, and the like. That suggestion would dramatically affect the work of my first guest, Senator Debbie Stabenow, who helped craft the current Farm Bill that encompasses the food stamp program.
Stabenow is now working on the next Farm Bill as the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, and she says Trump’s proposals, if taken seriously, would make it impossible to complete that work this year.
“This proposal cannot be taken seriously. It’s absurd on its face,” says Stabenow.
Stabenow says food stamps are a wedge issue for many people, but that it’s important for everyone to know that spending on SNAP is costing less than necessary a few years ago because the economy has improved and more people are working.
“When you look at this five year Farm Bill rewrite… we’re actually spending more on the farm safety net,” rather than on SNAP says Stabenow.
To hear more from Stabenow on Detroit Today, click on the audio player above.