WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is defending a proposal that would cut food stamp benefits in half and replace them with a box of shelf-stable goods delivered to recipients’ doorstep.
The idea was first floated last week in the Trump administration’s 2019 budget proposal, tucked inside of a larger plan to slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, by roughly $213 billion — or 30 percent — over the next 10 years.
The plan has drawn harsh criticism, with one lawmaker calling it ‘‘a cruel joke.’’
Perdue on Thursday said the plan is a work in progress and asked critics not to dismiss it.
‘‘We’re looking at innovative ideas, we’re looking to do more with less, we think it’s a reasonable way to do that,’’ Perdue said.