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Congress Immigration

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., right, responds to a reporter's question on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, following the weekly Democratic policy luncheon. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday criticized President Donald Trump's proposed 2019 budget that would cut funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as food stamps, by more than $200 billion a year over the next decade. 

Schumer, D-N.Y., explained how the proposed cuts would harm New York. The state would lose more than $14 billion in SNAP funding over a 10-year period. Counties in central New York would face steep reductions in food stamp aid. Onondaga County would lose an estimated $31.2 million a year. Cayuga County's funding could be slashed by more than $4.2 million annually. 

Nearly 3 million New York residents received SNAP benefits in December 2017, according to Schumer's office. The proposed cuts could affect more than 1.5 million New York households. 

"Let me be clear, no child should ever go to bed hungry, which is why I am deeply concerned about the administration's proposed changes to SNAP, our main program to save off hunger," Schumer said in a statement. "This harmful proposal could mean that millions of families and seniors across New York and nationwide will lose access to desperately needed food assistance." 

The Trump administration released its budget proposal in February. In addition to cutting SNAP funding, the president's budget proposes replacing benefits with a program that would provide recipients with a box of food. 

Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget director, referred to it as a "Blue Apron-style" program. Blue Apron is a company that allows consumers to order food ingredients for specific meals and have it delivered to their homes. 

The Trump administration's proposal has been called "America's Harvest Box." The boxes, which would contain cereals, fruits, pasta, vegetables and other products, would be provided to SNAP recipients in place of their cash benefits. 

"It maintains the same level of food value as SNAP participants currently receive, provides states flexibility in administering the program and is responsible to the taxpayers," Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said last month. 

The harvest box proposal and the plan to slash SNAP funding has been met with bipartisan opposition. Some Republicans, including U.S. Rep. John Katko, have pledged to oppose food stamp cuts

Schumer didn't comment specifically on the harvest box idea, but he called the Trump budget's proposed SNAP cuts "deplorable."

"I urge the administration to immediately reverse course, and I vow to fight to build bipartisan support to reverse these cruel and counterproductive cuts to this vital anti-hunger program," he said. 

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