The conflict over food stamps shows that many Republicans are afraid of opposing the welfare state.
Donald Trump, wanting to keep his promises to cut the budget, is proposing that money for food stamps be reduced. But it looks like this proposal is simply showing us that Republicans like to talk about ending the welfare state more than they like actually doing it. It was easy to oppose food stamps when Barack Obama was there to safely veto such bills.
Now Trump’s victory has upset the drama that Republicans and Democrats were producing together. AP reports, “Trump’s Food Stamp Cuts Face Hard Sell in Congress.”
President Donald Trump’s proposal to slash food stamps by a third will be a hard sell in Congress, even as Republicans have tried repeatedly to scale back the program’s $70 billion annual cost.
Democrats will oppose any changes to the program, which is designed as a temporary safety net for Americans who find themselves unable to adequately feed themselves or their families.
Many Republicans, too, have been wary to overhaul food stamps, even as participation has more than doubled. Trump’s proposal could have a disproportionate effect on Republican-leaning states – seven of the 10 states with the highest food stamp participation supported Trump.
Republicans are still eying cuts to the program, but none as large as what Trump has proposed.
Known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the program now serves 44 million people and cost $70 billion last year. The program more than doubled in cost during the recession, and after some eligibility rules were expanded. The cost has stayed higher even as the economy has recovered, though it has slowly decreased annually.
Trump’s proposed budget would save $191 billion over 10 years by shifting some of the cost to states, targeting the benefits to the poorest people, increasing work requirements and limiting some eligibility. It would also allow states to determine the level of SNAP benefits they provide.
That does not sound like a radical proposal, but it too much for some Republicans in Congress.
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