Defying Congress, Trump Will Use an Executive Order to Tighten Restrictions on Food Stamps
Americans who receive food stamps or EBT cards face work requirements in order to receive their benefits. These measures take into account where the recipients live, as jobs may be harder to find in certain places.
Today, the Trump Administration announced a roll back on these benefits, making it harder to qualify for the program. Trump will be making these changes via Executive Order as the moves have not been approved by Congress.
Able bodied, single adults must find a job if they plan to receive food stamps for more than 3 months. However, ” USDA regulations allow states to waive the requirement in areas with unemployment rates that are at least 20 percent greater than the national rate.”
The current unemployment rate is 3.7%. The proposed change would allow for people to avoid the work requirement only if they lived in an area where unemployment was 7% or more.
Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue, celebrated the move, saying, “This is unacceptable to most Americans and belies common sense, particularly when employment opportunities are as plentiful as they currently are. This restores the dignity of work to a sizable segment of our population.”
While the unemployment numbers are very low, they are also said to be misleading. Many unemployed workers do not have specified skills required of open jobs.
Democrats are upset that Trump is using an Executive Order to make the change. Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow said, “Administrative changes should not be driven by ideology. I do not support unilateral and unjustified changes that would take food away from families.”
States do have some say over their allotment of food stamps and can request waivers from the government. While states formerly needed to apply for these waivers every two years, they will now need to apply every year.
While Trump will celebrate the move as a savings for tax-payers, the use of food stamps is highest in states that voted for him.