More than 2.8 million people dropped off food stamps since President Trump’s first full month in office, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The latest USDA data shows that since Trump served his first full month in office in February 2017—when food stamp enrollment was at 42,134,301— participation in the federal government’s food stamp program decreased by 2,804,945 to 39,329,356.
During Trump’s first year and a half as president, many people discontinued their SNAP benefits due to the Trump administration’s attempts to reform SNAP at both the federal and state levels of government.
Trump released an executive order on welfare reform in April that would require the USDA to issue updated rules for those receiving benefits such as food stamps, and invest in workforce development programs.
The USDA also hired an “integrity officer” in March to bolster the administration’s efforts to prevent SNAP fraud, and announced in February the rollout of its “Harvest Box” program to give food stamp recipients a box of shelf-stable food as part of their monthly benefits package.
The continued decline in the number of individuals enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—the federal government program in charge of administering food stamps—during Trump’s year and a half as president is consistent with the downward trend in SNAP enrollment since 2013.
In 2013, when the Obama administration was in power, enrollment in the program reached its highest levels in the nation’s history.
After 2013, SNAP enrollment declined when state legislatures passed laws requiring food stamp recipients to work, attend school, volunteer, or participate in job training for a set number of hours per week to receive benefits. The improving economy also contributed to the continuing decline in food stamp usage.
Enrollment in the nation’s food stamp program might plunge even further if work requirements are included in the latest Farm Bill going through Congress.
Trump tweeted Thursday that he wanted to get work requirements for food stamps implemented at the federal level when the House and Senate meet to work on the latest Farm Bill.
When the House and Senate meet on the very important Farm Bill – we love our farmers – hopefully they will be able to leave the WORK REQUIREMENTS FOR FOOD STAMPS PROVISION that the House approved. Senate should go to 51 votes!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2018
The House passed a version of the bill in June with a provision requiring able-bodied adults without dependents ages 18 to 59 work, enroll in job training, or look for work under the supervision of a case manager to receive food stamps.
The Senate version of the bill did not include the work requirement provision.