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GOP leadership puts its efforts to fix immigration on hold. Also on the Friday rundown: Florida students take their gun control message to the Midwest; and a call for renewal of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

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Trump Budget Slashes Food Program

Nearly 83 percent of SNAP households have children, seniors or people with disabilities. (USDA/Flickr)
Nearly 83 percent of SNAP households have children, seniors or people with disabilities. (USDA/Flickr)
May 24, 2017

NEW YORK - President Trump's budget, according to many advocates for the poor, would make Americans weaker, sicker and hungrier.

The $4.1 trillion budget boosts military spending and doles out huge tax breaks, paid for by cuts to programs om which millions of low-income Americans rely to survive. According to Joel Berg, executive director of Hunger Free America, just days after Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue assured Congress there would be no cuts to SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, the president's budget calls for slashing the federal nutrition program by $192 billion over 10 years.

"That's far bigger than even the worst cuts that (House Speaker) Paul Ryan proposed in the past," Berg said. "That would equal about $8,000 worth of cuts per family over the next decade. It's just unimaginable."

The Trump administration has said the cuts will be balanced by stricter work requirements and reduced fraud, but Berg said the numbers just don't add up.

"The vast majority of people who receive SNAP are children, senior citizens, people with disabilities, veterans and working parents," he said. "This idea that they're big, strong freeloaders who just don't want to work is absolutely bunk."

A recent survey found that a majority of Americans think SNAP benefits are too low, and Berg noted that cutting benefits not only would hurt the poor but would hurt the economy as a whole.

"Every dollar spent on SNAP generates $1.80 of economic activity," he said, "and much of that is in the very rural parts of the country that most supported Trump."

The president's budget also proposes cutting $800 billion from Medicaid and $272 billion from welfare programs.

More information is online at hungerfreeamerica.org. The budget proposal is at whitehouse.gov.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY