Colorado SNAP recipients fear Trump budget proposal

DENVER -- Millions of people nationwide depending on food stamps will see benefits slashed if Congress agrees to President Donald Trump’s current budget proposal.

The Trump administration said it wants to replace cash benefits with boxes of government food.

More than 400,000 Coloradans will feel the pinch if the proposal is approved, according to nonprofit Hunger Free Colorado.

“It feels like I’m rationing on a regular basis,” Denver SNAP recipient Andrea Fuller said.

Fuller works full time to support her two children while remaining dependent on food stamps.

The benefit represents about $1.40 per meal, according to Hunger Free Colorado public policy director Katharine Ferguson.

“The SNAP program is Colorado’s first line of defense for folks who are hungry,” Ferguson said.

The president’s latest proposal would save the federal government $213 billion over the next 10 years, according to the White House.

That savings requires a nearly 30 percent budget cut to the SNAP program. To cut costs, Trump wants the U.S. Department of Agriculture to buy nonperishable food items in bulk for those in need.

“President Trump is putting that out there as a starting point -- a stimulus for negotiation,” Colorado Republican Party chairman Jeff Hays said.

Conservatives argue the proposal creates a way to save money and protect against food stamp fraud.

“It’s a really shortsighted attempt to save money,” Ferguson said.

Opponents to the president’s plan believe canned and boxed food is not as healthy as fresh food that can be purchased with food stamps at grocery stores.

Critics also warn that the one-size fits-all government food box won’t be able to accommodate those with special dietary needs.

It remains unclear how the boxed food would be delivered and where funding for delivery would originate.