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Rep. Fudge: SNAP Final Rule an Unacceptable Escalation of the Administration's War on People in Need

WASHINGTON – After an announcement Wednesday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that the Administration will tighten restrictions on the eligibility of Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) for benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), Chair of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations, released the following statement:

“The decision to finalize a rule taking food from nearly two million of our poorest and most vulnerable citizens the week following Thanksgiving, and at the height of the holiday season, reveals this Administration’s callous and cruel intentions.  This is an unacceptable escalation of the Administration’s war on people in need, and it comes during a time when too many are forced to stretch already-thin budgets to make ends meet.  The USDA is the Grinch that stole Christmas.  Shame on them.

“Since Congress overwhelmingly and historically voted against these cruel policies in the 2018 Farm Bill, this Administration has made three attempts to relitigate that fight and strip benefits from hungry people across our country.  Those families and the organizations that fight for them have repeatedly told the Administration, through tens of thousands of public comments, this rule and others USDA intends to issue would cut life-saving nutrition assistance at a time when they need it most.

“What’s more, the Administration refuses to take an honest look at the people they are targeting with this rule and what challenges they face that contribute to their hunger.  USDA has the authority to research whether those affected by this rule are in fact disabled, or elderly, or veterans, or any number of other classifications that may exacerbate their need.  However, there is no indication USDA has done so to date.  If it had, the Department would discover that many of these SNAP recipients are either attempting to find work or face hardships that prevent them from doing so.

“Instead of considering hungry individuals and their unique struggles and needs, the Department has chosen to paint them with the broadest brush, demonizing them as lazy and undeserving.  The President has cynically weaponized USDA as a blunt political instrument, in clear opposition to its mission to ‘do right and feed everyone.’  USDA has sunk to a new low in its war on the poor.”