The White House budget proposal makes huge cuts to programs that benefit America's poorest families.
A new budget proposal from the White House would not only cut funding to benefit programs for America’s poorest families, but would also make it more difficult for stores to accept food stamps from people in need.
One provision in the proposal would force stores that accept food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, to pay a fee, costing businesses a staggering $2 billion over the next decade according to CNBC.
The Trump administration’s Office of Management and Budget says the fee would first be collected when businesses sign up to accept food stamps, and would have to paid every five years after that. The amount of the fee is still vague: According to the administration, it would be calculated based on “the size and type of the retailer.”
The proposal generously estimates that the fees would generate around $2.4 billion dollars in revenue over a ten year period.
A spokesperson for the Office of Management and Budget reassured CNBC that the fee would be both "modest" and "reasonable,” given that many retailers rake in billions of dollars in profits from food stamp transactions every year. For instance, food stamps make up about $16 billion of Wal-Mart’s annual sales.
"Although a small number of stores may choose to leave the program rather than pay the fee, we do not expect that this will affect access to authorized stores," the spokesperson said.
Obviously, grocery stores would be the most heavily affected by the proposed fee, and they’re fighting hard against the proposal.
Leslie G. Sarasin, president of the Food Marketing Institute, which represents the supermarket industry, described the provision as a “flawed policy of imposing fees on food retailers in order to reduce the cost of the federal government's nutrition assistance benefits to the most needy in our society.”
The administration’s new budget proposes $191 billion in cuts to the food stamp program over the next ten years, but even the President's supposed Republican allies have vowed to resist the measure.
Trump has already had one budget plan rejected by Congress this year, so there's reason to believe that this one could be equally unsuccessful. In any case, Congress has until the end of September to decide the fate who will be accepting food stamps in the near future.