On Thursday, the Obama administration announced it would no longer allow for “taxpayer funding” to cover the costs of food stamps and Medicaid.
The change comes after the Department of Agriculture and other government agencies slashed billions of dollars in food stamp benefits over the past decade, as well as $500 million in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which provides cash assistance for low-income families.
“The White House is taking action to ensure that the Supplemental Food Assistance Program is fully funded, and that the program can continue to provide safety nets for people who are struggling,” said USDA spokesperson Michael Gellman.
“As part of this process, we are reviewing the existing funding model to determine the best course of action for food assistance in the coming months.”
Under the Obama administrations’ “No Taxpayers Funding” rule, food stamps are not covered by the government, but the administration has been actively working to get them covered through various means.
In June, the USDA proposed a new rule that would allow the Food and Nutrition Service to use the food stamps it has under the federal Supplemental Nutrition Programs for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program to cover food for eligible Americans without the government.
“It’s time to start treating food assistance as a basic human right,” Gellmann said.
“This is the first step to putting food on the table for more Americans and getting them into the workforce.”
The USDA will not be able to pay for any additional benefits from the WIC program until the rule goes into effect.
But Gellson acknowledged that the change could potentially create an even bigger hole in the budget, since it would allow for more food stamp recipients to be “taxed” through the new rule.
“While the Trump administration has signaled that it will no longer support this rule, it is still unclear how this change will be implemented and whether the rule will continue to apply to future years,” the USDA said.
Under the rule, the Food & Drug Administration is required to pay a portion of the cost of food stamp subsidies to the U.S. Treasury.
This cost is based on a formula, which is determined by the amount of food assistance recipients have received and the amount that they have to spend on food.
For instance, a person who receives food stamps every year will pay about $3,200 for food stamps in 2018.
The rule would not apply to SNAP recipients who are not receiving SNAP.
“These payments, while not fully covered by food stamps, are essential to many low- and moderate-income Americans who are facing a serious financial crisis,” said Emily Baskin, senior policy analyst for Food Policy Action.
“There are currently more than 2.5 million SNAP beneficiaries, many of whom are struggling to get by on about $2,600 per month.”
SNAP is funded through a variety of sources.
It is funded by the federal government through food stamps; a portion is paid by states through food stamp assistance; and it is funded indirectly through the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, or WIC), which is administered by the USDA.
However, since the rules went into effect, the amount the U