How the US food stamp program could be shut down by the Trump administration
Recode’s Scott Shane reports that the Food and Drug Administration could be forced to shut down its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) if President Donald Trump does not sign a bill authorizing the program to end by March 31.
The bill is a compromise between Democrats and Republicans.
In a letter to the Trump Administration on Wednesday, the bipartisan Congressional Progressive Caucus urged the administration to extend SNAP to a “targeting and reduction program” to help the poor.
“If the President is unable to sign this legislation, SNAP should be shuttered by March 1,” the letter reads.
“Food stamp recipients should not receive food stamps at all for the foreseeable future.
If SNAP is shut down, we are prepared to work with Congress to extend it.
This bill has been the source of significant bipartisan support in the Senate, and it is a necessary reform to help millions of Americans.”
The SNAP program was created in the 1980s and is currently administered by the Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Since it began in 2012, the program has helped millions of people in the US, with more than 3.3 million receiving food stamps.
The program was launched to help address the food insecurity caused by the Great Recession, which saw the largest number of food stamp recipients since the Great Depression.
But in the face of the economic crisis, many states, including Texas, have shuttered their food stamp programs in an attempt to ease food insecurity, and the US is now facing a food shortage in some parts of the country.
“There are a number of other ways we can assist the nation to address the need for a targeted and reduced food assistance program,” the Democratic-controlled Senate Agriculture Committee wrote to the White House in February, according to Politico.
“Our bill would help by creating a new food assistance account in the USDA that could be used to pay for the purchase of food to address food insecurity for the most vulnerable Americans and for families who have not been able to afford to purchase food on their own.”
The letter was signed by 12 Democratic senators.
The Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Food, Nutrition and Forestry wrote in its March letter to Trump that the program could run out of money by the end of the year.
“The USDA is obligated to close its doors by March 20 and to end SNAP by the date specified in the bill passed by Congress,” the subcommittee wrote.
“Without a food assistance bill, we do not have any flexibility to continue SNAP.
Congress needs to provide the funding necessary to sustain SNAP in the current budget situation.”
The subcommittee has been working to pass a food stamp bill in the House of Representatives, and a bipartisan group of senators have been working on a version of the bill in conference committee since last year.
Senate Democrats plan to hold a vote on the legislation by March 22.
“I believe the food stamp legislation that we have been able today should be a great success, but we are not going to pass it if the White President does not extend SNAP,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday.
“And that is what I am going to be working on.”
A White House spokesperson told Recode that the White Senate office had not heard of the House legislation and had not been contacted by the subcommittee about SNAP.
The USDA could end the SNAP program as soon as March 31, but if Congress does not act by then, the White Department would still be able to issue food stamps to households that are in the “food-insecure” category.