On Thursday, 16 states banned together to sue the Agriculture Department over a plan to increase work requirements for millions of people receiving food stamps. Under the stricter plan, it will disqualify the decisions of the states and their criteria for food stamp recipients and cut off millions of unemployed people who are receiving assistance.
The 16 states suing are New York, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, Virginia, Michigan, Washington, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Rhode Island, D.C, Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, and Connecticut.
According to the Trump administration, the new rule will bring “self-sufficiency and protect taxpayer money.” The plan will transform legal immigration and make them “public charge.” The new plan will save $5.5 billion over five years.
Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli stated that “longstanding federal law has required foreign nationals to rely on their capabilities and the resources of their families” which helps them become successful.
In a press release, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue stated that its a way of encouraging people to work in the “strongest economy in a generation.”
The new rule will go into effect on April 1 and will require adults between the ages of 18 and 49 without children to work a minimum of 20 hours a week on regular bases to qualify and receive any benefits. If not they do not comply they will only be able to get SNAP benefits for three months every three years.
In a press release, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue stated that its a way of “encouraging people to work in the “strongest economy in a generation.”
Democratic Attorneys General has stated they filed the lawsuit against the Trump administration because under the plan it will hurt the states and the residents who live in them. The lawsuit filed has also asked for an injunction with the United States District Court before the new rule goes into effect. It is estimated that millions of people will lose food stamp benefits.
Ellen Vollinger, legal director of Food Research & Action Center’s legal director stated that she is happy that the states have filed a lawsuit against the Agriculture Department. Vollinger said the lawsuit “prevents USDA from sidestepping Congress” and ignoring that people are “struggling with unemployment and underemployment.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf stated that even with so much “wealth in America” that many people “struggling to make ends meet and even put food on the table.”Wolf believes that there were “better ways of doing this” without hurting the citizens.
The first food stamp program in the United States was created in 1939. At the time orange stamps worth one dollar and blue stamps were given out worth 50 cents each for surplus food. On May 16, 1939, the first person who received food stamps was Mabel McFiggin of Rochester, New York. McFiggin was an unemployed factory worker.
Since the establishment of the food stamp program in 1939, millions of Americans have depended on receiving them. Over the decade’s there have increases and decreases in food stamps participants which not only occurred based on unemployment rates throughout the nation but also due to decisions by the government.