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Trump strips 700,000 poor people off food stamps after giving the rich a $1.5 trillion tax cut

The administration argued that change was made to be more "respectful of the taxpayers who fund the program."

Trump strips 700,000 poor people off food stamps after giving the rich a $1.5 trillion tax cut

The Trump administration on Wednesday tightened work requirements for food stamp recipients; a move which strips nearly 700,000 poor people off food stamps. While the administration argued that change was made to be more "respectful of the taxpayers who fund the program," this so-called concern for the taxpayer was clearly nowhere to be seen during the bank bailout when the rich were essentially given a free pass following the 2008 financial crash. Coupled with the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul that President Trump signed into law in 2017, the latest blow to the poor is a clear indication of the administration's goal to reward some taxpayers while punishing others.



According to a report by Fox News, the new rule is the first of three proposals targeting the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) which feeds over 36 million people. "We’re taking action to reform our SNAP program in order to restore the dignity of work to a sizable segment of our population and be respectful of the taxpayers who fund the program. Americans are generous people who believe it is their responsibility to help their fellow citizens when they encounter a difficult stretch. That’s the commitment behind SNAP, but, like other welfare programs, it was never intended to be a way of life," said the Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue during a call with reporters outlining the changes to the rule, reports NBC News.


The rule that will take effect on April 1, affects people between the ages of 18 and 49 who are childless and not disabled. While current rules require this group to work at least 20 hours a week for more than 3 months over a 36-month period in order to qualify for food stamps, some states have been able to create waivers for areas that face high unemployment. However, the controversial change limits states from waiving these standards and instead restricts their use to areas that have a 6 percent unemployment rate or higher.



The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) stated that the change is an extension of President Donald Trump's April 2018 executive order of "Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility," which aimed to create more work programs and limit public assistance. The agency claimed the work requirement rule would save the government $5.5 billion over five years while revealing that about 688,000 people would lose access to food stamps. The department argued that it found 2.9 million adults on the SNAP rolls who were able-bodied and did not have dependents, of which 2.1 million were not working.



Meanwhile, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, severely criticized the move. She said the rule would do little to help anyone find work and rather would only strip people from accessing the benefit. "This Administration is out of touch with families who are struggling to make ends meet by working seasonal jobs or part-time jobs with unreliable hours. Seasonal holiday workers, workers in Northern Michigan’s tourism industry, and workers with unreliable hours like waiters and waitresses are the kinds of workers hurt by this proposal," she said.


"The policy targets very poor people struggling to work — some of whom are homeless or living with health conditions. Taking away basic food assistance from these individuals will only increase hardship and hunger while doing nothing to help them find steady full-time work," said Stacy Dean, the food assistance policy vice president at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also blasted the Trump administration's efforts to reduce public benefits in a statement, saying, "Instead of combating food insecurity for millions, connecting workers to good-paying jobs or addressing income inequality, the administration is inflicting their draconian rule on millions of Americans across the nation who face the highest barriers to employment and economic stability."


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