House Dems, Cargill, NFU, Land O’Lakes oppose Trump’s SNAP revision
All 28 Democrats on the House Education and Labor Committee wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Monday, expressing strong opposition to the Trump administration’s proposed changes to eligibility standards for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Separately, the National Farmers Union noted that the Alliance for Hunger, to which NFU belongs, along with other groups, also opposes the rule.
The comment period on the Trump administration’s proposed rule to curb use of categorical eligibility in the SNAP program ended Monday.
The New York Times also noted that USDA had been “flooded” with requests to stop the rule.
The House Education and Labor Committee has jurisdiction over child nutrition programs, and in their comments the committee, Democrats pointed out that the rule would eliminate access to free school meals for more than 500,000 low-income children.
In a news release, the Education and Labor Democrats noted that children whose families participate in SNAP can receive free school meals through the national school lunch program and the school breakfast program. Because more than 40 states use expanded categorical eligibility, a less restrictive income and asset test on families that are eligible for SNAP, more children are eligible to receive free meals. The proposed rule would restrict states’ ability to use this, resulting in children losing free meals.
“When the rule was published in the Federal Register, the regulatory impact analysis did not include discussion of the rule’s impact on free school meal eligibility,” the committee Democrats wrote.
“According to your staff’s analysis, [it] would result in more than 500,000 children losing their automatic eligibility for free school meals. The effect on school meal eligibility represents a societal cost that the department must consider in its review, so that stakeholders have the opportunity to comment on all aspects of the rule’s impact.”
In a statement, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson noted that NFU is a member of the Alliance to End Hunger and that the Alliance, whose other members include Cargill and Land O’Lakes, said in August it is opposed to the rule.
On Aug. 23, the alliance said, “Limiting categorical eligibility was debated and discarded by Congress during the bipartisan 2018 farm bill negotiations. The administration should not impose it now.”
“The Alliance to End Hunger calls on the administration to withdraw this proposal. We will continue to work with our coalition members and partners, as well as members of Congress and the administration, to ensure SNAP is protected and continues to play a vital role in the lives of food-insecure families.”