The Trump administration has released its 2018 budget proposal for discretionary spending, and the situation looks dire for government departments and agencies like the FDA, EPA, and USDA.
Perhaps one of the most alarming proposed budget cuts is to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which would lose all $3 billion of its Community Development Block Grant program. This program funds services for low-income Americans, like Meals on Wheels, which provides home delivery of food for the elderly and incapacitated across America. Without the government grant, Meals on Wheels would have to rely almost entirely on private donations and local grants to feed the elderly who are incapable of shopping or cooking for themselves.
— M Frasher (@realMFrasher) March 16, 2017
Other proposed budget cuts include a large 31-percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency and a 21-percent cut (about $4.7 billion) to the Department of Agriculture, according to Reuters. The reduction in funding would significantly affect food safety, rural development, conservation funding, and international food aid, according to The Washington Post. Considering that the worldwide hunger situation grows more dire each year and that foodborne illnesses are on the rise, scientists and food safety advocates have reason to be nervous about the future.
Also on the chopping block is funding for clean water initiatives in rural areas, as well as the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program, which provides agricultural commodities to poor, rural counties. Approximately 15 percent of rural households are food insecure, and poorer cities across America — like Flint, Michigan — are still waiting for federal or state funding to detoxify their public water systems.
In addition, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides food stamps for expectant women, infants, and children under five, will receive a $6.2 billion cut, significantly more than the $273 million cut by President Obama in 2015 and 2016. One in five children in America are currently on food stamps.