Dem senators urge Perdue to withdraw SNAP category eligibility proposal |

Dem senators urge Perdue to withdraw SNAP category eligibility proposal

As the comment period closes today on a Trump administration rule to tighten up on eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, 15 Democratic senators including Senate Agriculture ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., today urged Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to withdraw the rule.

The senators signing the letter included four running for the Democratic nomination for president: Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who dropped out of the presidential race, also signed the letter.

“Changes to broad-based categorical eligibility have been rejected countless times by Congress, on a bipartisan basis,” wrote the senators.

“Further, the regulatory impact assessment is seriously flawed, ignoring key impacts, particularly on children, that have been previously recognized by this administration in budget proposals and the Congressional Budget Office when estimating the cost of bills that would change broad-based categorical eligibility.”

“We urge you to immediately withdraw this proposed rule,” the letter said.

They noted that, according to analysis by Mathematica, at least 3.6 million SNAP participants will lose SNAP benefits as a result of this proposed rule and pointed out that in the 2018 farm bill, Congress deliberately chose to exclude any changes to categorical eligibility due to the devastating impact on families.

In comments filed late last week, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President Richard Besser wrote, “When USDA issued the proposed rule two months ago, it justified the proposal on fairness and efficiency grounds. While fairness and efficiency are hallmarks of SNAP itself, the proposed rule represents the antithesis of those principles.”

“SNAP reduces food insecurity, improves participants’ health, supports communities and strengthens the economy,” Besser said.

“The proposed rule would undermine the ability of the program to do its job and make it harder for families to reduce financial hardship and become food secure. Millions of individuals, families, children, people with disabilities and the elderly would suffer as a result.”

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