Republican Budget Could Kick 11 Million Off Food Stamps

03/20/2015 03:56 pm ET | Updated Mar 20, 2015

Congressional Republicans proposed a budget this week that could kick 11 million people off food stamps, according to an outside analysis released Friday.

House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) unveiled his spending blueprint on Tuesday. The document didn't specify how much it would reduce funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, however, and an aide wouldn't specify when The Huffington Post asked. But during a Wednesday hearing, committee staff revealed the cut would be $125 billion over 10 years, about 34 percent of program funding.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal Washington, D.C. think tank, if the savings were achieved by reducing enrollment, states would need to kick 11-12 million people off the program. Another way to save $125 billion over a decade would be to chop everyone's monthly benefits by $55.

The program currently serves 46 million Americans with an average monthly benefit of $127.91 per person, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The outcome of the proposed funding reduction is vague, because Republicans would leave it up to states to carry out the cut. In addition to reducing spending, the budget would transform SNAP from an open-ended federal commitment to deliver nutrition assistance to everyone who qualifies into a "block grant" -- a fixed sum of money for states to dish out according to a set of federal criteria. The budget calls for the cuts to be delayed until 2021.

"While states might not seek to hit the targets through just one of these approaches, these examples illustrate the magnitude of the reductions needed," the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' Dorothy Rosenbaum and Brynne Keith-Jennings reported Friday. "States would have few other places to achieve the required cuts because such a large share of SNAP expenditures go for SNAP benefits."

Price's budget has almost no chance whatsoever of becoming law without major changes. Even if both chambers of Congress approved the proposal, that would only begin the process of committees filling in details about how, exactly, spending would be curtailed at various branches of the federal government, including the USDA. And President Barack Obama is unlikely to sign a budget agreement that repeals the Affordable Care Act, as both the House and Senate budgets are designed to do.

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