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Senators to Trump: Withdraw Proposal to Take Away Food Assistance
USAgNet - 09/27/2019

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio joined his colleagues this week in raising serious concerns about the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) proposed rule to eliminate categorical eligibility, which would take food assistance away from millions of families currently participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, Brown joined his colleagues in urging Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to withdraw the proposal, citing the negative consequences of the rule and noting that the Administration has not conducted an accurate analysis of its impact on children and families.

"This rule is yet another example of the Trump Administration ignoring Congressional intent and proposing a self-initiated, flawed rule that will take food assistance away from millions of Americans, disproportionately affecting children, seniors and working families," wrote the Senators.

According to analysis by Mathematica, at least 3.6 million SNAP participants will lose SNAP benefits as a result of this proposed rule. In the 2018 Farm Bill, which passed on a historic bipartisan vote and was signed into law by the President, Congress deliberately chose to exclude any changes to categorical eligibility due to the devastating impact on families. In Ohio, an estimated 61,000 households would lose access to this important program.

Additionally, the Senators raised concerns that the Administration failed to conduct an accurate regulatory impact assessment. In a briefing to Congressional staff, the USDA acknowledged that, at a minimum, 500,000 children would lose access to school meals; however, these impacts, among others, are not included in the required analysis.

The letter was also signed by Senators Debbie Stabenow, Patrick Leahy, Patty Murray, Tammy Baldwin, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith, Robert Casey, Bernie Sanders, Charles Schumer, Michael Bennet, Chris Van Hollen, Dick Durbin, and Elizabeth Warren.

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