El Pasoans split on proposed SNAP change-up
Trump's budget proposes massive cuts to the program that provides more than 42 million Americans with food stamps.
The budget also floats the idea of new legislation that would require able-bodied adults to work or participate in a work program in order to receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the official name of the food stamp program.
The president's budget would reduce SNAP by roughly $213 billion over the next 10 years.
Victoria Mills, from West El Paso, feeds her family of seven with the help of SNAP.
"My disabled son is on a bunch of medicines that cost a lot of money. We spend $2,000 alone on that, and if we had to buy food on top of that, that would be another $1,000," Mills said.
The budget calls for a $17 billion reduction in 2019, and proposes "a bold new approach" to administering SNAP that will include a combination of traditional food stamps and packages of "100 percent American grown foods provided directly to households."
According to CNN Money, the Trump administration is proposing to replace about half of SNAP benefits with a box of food. That would affect households that receive at least $90 a month in food stamp benefits, or roughly 30 million people, according to CNN Money.
Instead of SNAP recipients getting all of the benefits in monetary form, they would get a box of food including a variety of items, like juice, pasta, peanut butter, and canned fruits and vegetables, CNN Money reports.
"I don't support the food box, think about the people that actually have allergies and everything," Mills said. "Would you want your kids suffering?"
Some El Pasoans are concerned about what that would mean for beneficiaries.
"Well I don't think that's good," Ida said. "A lot of them have to be on special diets, people need certain diets, are they going to look into that?"
While others think it's a good plan.
"Well I think it would be a better choice because it helps them have more nutritious ideas instead of just getting junk food," Lilian Rubio said.
So far the administration hasn't said how families would receive the food boxes.
Stacy Dean, vice president for food assistance policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said the proposed cuts to SNAP account for nearly 30 percent of the program.
She said the proposal, if enacted, "would be devastating for the one-in-eight Americans who use SNAP to put food on the table every day."
"It would reduce benefits and undercut the program's efficiency and effectiveness," she said.