Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and President Trump. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials said the Trump administration will propose Tuesday to tighten access to food stamps, cutting about 3.1 million people from the program, Reuters reports.

Details: The proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would limit access to food stamps for households with savings and other assets, with the aim of ending automatic eligibility for those already receiving federal and state assistance, per the Washington Post.

The big picture: Residents in 43 states can automatically become eligible for food stamps via SNAP if they receive benefits from another federal program, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Reuters notes.

  • USDA officials said they want to require people who receive TANF benefits to pass an income and assets review to determine whether they are eligible for free food from SNAP, according to Reuters.

What they're saying: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said during a conference call with reporters Monday night that the proposal would "preserve the integrity of the program," according to WashPost. "SNAP should be a temporary safety net," he said.

  • Acting Deputy Undersecretary Brandon Lipps said the plan would result in annual budgetary savings of $2.5 billion and restrict less needy individuals from qualifying for benefits, per WashPost, which notes USDA officials had no specifics on the financial cutoff for their proposal.

The other side: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, told WashPost that the proposed SNAP overhaul was an attempt by the Trump administration to bypass Congress, which blocked its earlier attempts to cut food stamps.

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