State officials are blasting a budget proposal released this week by President Donald Trump that would cut funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps or SNAP.
Leaders at the state’s Department of Health and the Department of Social and Health Services on Wednesday raised concerns about the proposal — specifically a plan to introduce a food delivery program for people receiving benefits.
Currently recipients use SNAP at grocery stores as if the benefits were cash.
Under the full-scale redesign, the Agriculture Department would use a portion of those benefits to buy and deliver a package of U.S.-grown commodities — officially dubbed "America's Harvest Box" — to recipients, using the government's buying power to lower costs. Deliveries could include things like shelf-stable milk, juice, cereal, pasta, peanut butter and more.
The deliveries of government-purchased foods would account for roughly half of the benefits for the vast majority of SNAP households.
Washington Secretary of Health John Wiesman said SNAP works because it lets people choose what they want to eat. Taking choice away, he said, is “the wrong approach.”
Trump’s proposal also would cut SNAP by $17.2 billion nationwide next year.
State leaders also criticized proposed cuts to assistance programs for families, people with disabilities and refugees. Nearly 900,000 people in Washington who receive food benefits could be affected, including more than 300,000 children.