Trump Proposes Food Stamps Reform

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We ran the numbers: There are 191 news articles covering this topic. 81% (154) are left leaning, 18% (35) center, 1% (2) right leaning.

 

The left focused on the 3 million people who would lose their access to food stamps under Trump’s proposed reform while the right highlighted the billionaire that currently qualifies for the program.

The Trump administration announced plans to change who qualifies for the SNAP program, better known as food stamps. This is the second time the administration has attempted to reform the program during Trump’s presidency. Last year, there was an attempt to cut the $60 billion program by $17 billion over 10 years, a proposal that was defeated with bipartisan support.

 

The current program sets the federal income cap for assistance at 130% of the poverty line, or about $32,640 for a family of four and sets an asset cap that evaluates easily liquidated assets such as savings accounts. States, however, are given flexibility to determine who else can qualify for the program. According to The Hill, “Forty-three U.S. states currently allow residents to automatically become qualified to get food stamps through SNAP if they also get aid from TANF, another federal program that helps families living in poverty due to job loss, health issues or other circumstances.” The current proposal eliminates broad-based eligibility and requires those who qualify for TANF to be re-evaluated to see if they meet the federal requirements for SNAP aid. 

There has long been controversy over the food assistance program, which Republicans say is run with too much state discretion that results in federal money going to those who don’t truly need it. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue stated that “This proposal will not only save money, but more importantly it preserves the integrity of the program while ensuring nutrition assistance programs serve those most in need.” The proposal is estimated to save 2.5 billion dollars per year and prevent 3 million people from qualifying for aid.

 

Republicans refer to a Minnesota millionaire who applied for food assistance to prove that he could as evidence that the SNAP program is flawed. The man has unusually large assets but an extremely low income that allowed him to qualify. Despite this, the fraud rate of the program remains extremely low according to the Congressional Research Service.

Democrats have emphasized the fact that the proposal would take many children off of free and reduced school lunch programs and prevent seniors and those with disabilities from enrolling if their assets, including savings and pension accounts, exceed $3,500. The ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee,  Debbie Stabenow said in a statement that “This rule would take food away from families, prevent children from getting school meals, and make it harder for states to administer food assistance."

There has been very little coverage of this issue on the right; only 1% of articles written about this topic have come from right-slanted sources. These sources have emphasized the billions of dollars saved by the proposal as well as low levels of state auditing and regulation of their existing programs.The 81% of articles from the left have criticized the right for using anecdotal evidence from a millionaire as evidence to shut down a program with such a low rate of fraud and have emphasized the number of children and families that could go hungry due to the proposal. The 18% of articles from the center have focused on detailing the particulars of the current program and the new proposal.


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