The US Department of Agriculture will propose a rule on Tuesday that would strengthen restrictions on food stamp recipients — cutting approximately 3.1 million Americans from the program, according to Reuters.
Currently, 43 U.S. states allow residents to automatically become eligible for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, if they receive benefits from another federal program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, according to the USDA.
SNAP enables approximately 40 million Americans to receive free food, which is about 12 percent of the US population.
But the agency wants to require people who receive TANF benefits to pass a review of their income and assets to determine whether they are eligible for free food from SNAP, officials said.
If enacted, the rule would save the federal government about $2.5 billion a year by removing people from SNAP, according to the USDA.
U.S. President Donald Trump has argued that many Americans now using SNAP do not need it given the strong economy and low unemployment, and should be removed as a way to save taxpayers as much as $15 billion.
On a conference call with reporters Monday night, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters, “Some states are taking advantage of loopholes that allow people to receive the SNAP benefits who would otherwise not qualify and for which they are not entitled.”