President Trump’s big plan to kick 3.1 million Americans working for poverty wages off of food stamps just hit a snag when a Democrat House Committee Chair revealed that it would also cancel free school lunches for half a million children.
Trump’s cruel plan to starve American workers would let states raise the requirements to get benefits from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) by eliminating the work incentives that gradually decrease benefits when someone earns more money.
House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) sent a letter to Trump’s Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue which explained that his staffers told him about the devastating impact on children of lower means.
Yet, Perdue materially omitted his staff’s findings from the proposed rule that Republicans want to famish 1% of the entire American population. Rep. Scott wrote:
In a phone briefing with House Committee on Education and Labor staff on July 22, 2019, your staff stated that the Department’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) estimates that the proposed rule will result in more than 500,000 children losing their automatic eligibility for free school meals.
However, when the rule was published in the Federal Register, the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) did not include discussion of the rule’s impact on free school meal eligibility.
SNAP benefits give children automatic enrollment in the free school lunch program, and in deeply impoverished areas contribute to an alternative program that feeds entire schools, based on eligible enrollees. NBC News reported the exact contents of the call:
During the call, the USDA said that 93 percent of the children affected by the change — more than 465,000 total — would qualify for reduced-priced meals, according to Scott’s staff.
Under that program, schools can charge up to 30 cents for each breakfast and 40 cents for each lunch.
It also turns out that omitting the devastating impact on children from the USDA’s new plan to emaciate the working poor also violates an Executive Order that President Barack Obama put in place called “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review.”
The heart of President Obama’s order to improve regulation review is its mandate that the public has easy access to give public comment via the internet.
In order to give the public meaningful notice of what a federal agency is planning, they have to disclose “an opportunity for public comment on all pertinent parts of the rulemaking docket, including relevant scientific and technical findings,” which Chairman Scott’s letter notes.
The Democrat also asked Perdue to disclose all of their staff analysis demonstrating the extreme harm that President Trump is trying to inflict at the USDA and to re-start the clock on their damaging regulatory action to allow meaningful public comment.
One of the top reasons we have SNAP is that it promotes public health and well-being, especially for children, while helping families climb out of poverty.
Millions of sicker Americans will probably create a drag on the private sector when they can’t work due to ill health, and school children miss class because they’re starving.
But Republicans see cruelty as a feature of their policy proposals, not a bug.
Here’s a copy of the letter from Chairman Scott: