On July 24, the Administration released the proposed rule to eliminate SNAP benefits for millions of people including children by making it harder for low-income families to put food on the table. The proposal, Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, seeks changes to state eligibility options for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would strip states’ broad-based categorical eligibility option to eliminate SNAP asset tests and use a higher income test to serve more working households

SNAP plays a critical role in addressing hunger and food insecurity in our community. It is the first line of defense against hunger for low-income households. The proposed rule would eliminate SNAP benefits for 3.1 million individuals, including 1.9 million children, take free school meals away from the children in those families, and punish people with even meager savings. Beyond its role in fighting food insecurity, SNAP significantly reduces child poverty, breaking the cycle of generational poverty as it helps struggling families make ends meet.

Congressional leaders have opposed the Administration proposed rule including Chairmen of the House Committees on Ways and Means, Education and Labor, and Agriculture who all released statements on the potential harm the rule would have on millions of Americas. Congress and the Administration reauthorized SNAP and “rejected this very proposal in the 2018 Farm Bill, stated Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), and it is unlawful for the Administration to attempt to override the law with congressional authorization.” Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee Bobby Scott (D-VA) who was displeased that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would “conceal data showing how the proposed rule would jeopardize access to free school means for more than 500,000 low-income children,” sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue requesting for transparency of the impact on school meal eligibility.

CWLA will continue to share information from national partners that are more active on this issue. Comments must be submitted by Monday, September 23 here or feel free to take action through template platforms by national partners: Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), Center for American Progress (CAP), Feeding America, or the Coalition for Human Needs.

About the Author:

John Sciamanna is CWLA's Vice President of Public Policy.

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