Is Your State Suing Over Trump’s New Food Stamp Rule?

File photo, Fair Use

14 States, D.C. and NYC file suit against Trump administration’s proposal to tighten food stamp rules | 

Jan 21, 2020

Kaiser Health News – “States are in the best position to evaluate local economic circumstances and to determine where there are insufficient job opportunities such that work requirements would be ineffective,” the lawsuit says. The new rule “eliminates State discretion and criteria.”

It’s expected that the new Trump administration rule would result in nearly 700,000 unemployed people losing their food stamp benefits.

The Washington Post: 14 States, D.C. And New York City Sue To Stop Trump Plan To Slash Food Stamps For 700,000 Unemployed People

A coalition of 14 states along with Washington, D.C., and New York City sued Thursday to block the Trump administration from cutting off food stamp benefits from nearly 700,000 unemployed people, the first of three such planned measures to restrict the federal food safety net.

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The Agriculture Department finalized the new rule in December, eliminating states’ discretion to waive work requirements in distressed economic areas — a change that would slash nearly $5.5 billion from food stamp spending over five years. (Hsu, 1/16)

Politico: 14 States Sue Trump Administration Over Food Stamp Rule

“Under well-settled law, the executive branch does not get to go forth with policies that Congress specifically rejected,” District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine said in a call with reporters. He and New York State Attorney General Tish James are leading the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

After a bitter partisan fight over the 2018 farm bill, congressional leaders agreed not to include sweeping changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that were pushed by a Republican-led House. But last year, the Trump administration began its own effort to rein in the program, arguing that the government should promote self-sufficiency when the U.S. economy is strong. (Boudreau, 1/16)

The New York Times: Democratic Attorneys General Sue To Block Trump Food Stamp Cuts

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The Trump administration finalized a rule last month that would raise the bar for states seeking to waive certain work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents and living in economically distressed areas.

The Agriculture Department estimated that the rule could push nearly 700,000 people off food stamps. “Now, in the midst of the strongest economy in a generation, we need everyone who can work, to work,” Mr. Perdue said at the time. (Fadulu, 1/16)

Axios: Coalition Of States Sues Trump Administration Over Food Stamp Rule

Why it matters: The stricter rule “eliminates State discretion and criteria” and will end “essential food assistance for benefits recipients who live in areas with insufficient jobs.”

It intends to cut benefits for 688,000–850,000 unemployed people, the Post reports, and states’ attorneys general who are backing the lawsuit argue the tightened SNAP requirements are unlawful. (Perano, 1/16)

The Hill: Cities, States Sue Over Planned Trump Cuts To Food Stamps

Perdue said that since 2000, the number of Americans receiving food stamp benefits has jumped from 17 million to 36 million, even though the unemployment rate is now lower than it was in 2000.

Under the new rules, a county must have an unemployment rate of at least 6 percent before the state can apply for a waiver. The policy change, set to take effect April 1, would reportedly trim $5.5 billion from the federal budget over the next two years. (Johnson, 1/16)

ABC News: Lawsuit Filed Over Trump Administration’s SNAP Rule Limiting Access To Food Stamps

The final rule was widely criticized when it was announced last year, including by members of Congress.

Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow said at the time the rule would hurt individuals who work in the tourism industry and others who have “unreliable hours like waiters and waitresses,” and New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer called the rule “heartless” and “cruel.” (Tatum, 1/16)

The Star Tribune: Ellison Joins Lawsuit Against Federal Rule That Would Tighten SNAP Requirements

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is challenging a Trump administration rule that could eliminate food assistance for more than 8,000 Minnesotans. (Faircloth, 1/16)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

A coalition of Democratic state attorneys general filed the suit, including those of:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • plus Washington D.C. | Source


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