Mass. Delegation Demands Trump Administration Halt SNAP Eligibility Changes in Light of COVID-19

Lawmakers urge USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to Protect Hungry Americans
WASHINGTON – Today, Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (D-MA-02), United States Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), and Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-MA-04) led members of the Massachusetts Delegation in a letter to United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue urging the Trump Administration to immediately halt the implementation of harmful federal SNAP rules while the federal government works to contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Last year, the Trump Administration proposed three rules changes that would severely cut assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for hungry Americans. These rules would worsen a strict SNAP time limit in areas of Massachusetts that struggle with elevated rates of unemployment, implement a benefits cliff and prevent low-wage working households from accessing SNAP if their income exceeds 130% of the Federal Poverty Level, and prevent Massachusetts from using state data to inform a standardized calculation of utility costs in determining SNAP benefit amounts.

“Overall, families with tight budgets and few savings whose income is disrupted for an extended period will face great financial strain and risk falling further into poverty,” wrote the lawmakers in their letter, adding that moving forward with these rules “will worsen food insecurity in a time of massive economic disruption and uncertainty.”

In addition to McGovern, Markey, and Kennedy, the letter was signed by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representatives Lori Trahan (D-MA-3), Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07), William R. Keating (D-MA-09), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA-08), Katherine M. Clark (D-MA-05), and Seth Moulton (D-MA-06).

The text of the letter can also be found here.