The Trump administration is moving to end food stamp benefits for 3.1 million people, including many families with young children. The proposed new regulations would give states less leeway to automatically enroll residents who receive welfare benefits, a flexibility that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said state governments “have misused,” Reuters reports.
The proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would limit access to food stamps for households with savings and other assets, because God (and the Trump administration) forbid that you have both food on the table and some savings in the bank. Per the Washington Post, Perdue said the administration was “changing the rules [to prevent] abuse of a critical safety net system, so those who need food assistance the most are the only ones who receive it.”
Under the proposed new guidelines, eligibility for food stamps would be capped at an annual income of $32,640 for a family of four, a rule made by people who have clearly never tried to support a family of four on $32,640 a year.
The move is the latest effort by conservatives who have long sought cuts in the federal food-assistance program for the poor and disabled. Last year, House Republicans tried a similar change to the food-stamp program, but it was voted down. Now, they’re taking their efforts to the executive branch, making an attempted end run around Congress. “This rule would take food away from families, prevent children from getting school meals, and make it harder for states to administer food assistance,” Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said in a statement to the Washington Post.
Tens of millions of people in the United States suffer from hunger and food insecurity each year, and SNAP is widely recognized as one of the most effective ways to reduce hunger, particularly among children. According to expert testimony made in front of the House Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations last month, “Food insecure children have higher rates of fair and poor health, have higher rates of hospitalization, increased risk of asthma, and delays in cognitive developments.”