USDA vilified over planned 'loophole' cut to SNAP

Thursday, July 25, 2019
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

SNAP sign in store windowDemocrats and their media allies are in a tizzy but a government watchdog is praising the Trump administration for its plan to close a food stamp loophole. 

“Food stamps” is the more-familiar term for the SNAP program administered by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture that currently helps 36 million Americans.  

According to an NPR story, citing the USDA, an estimated 3 million Americans would be dropped if the eligibility rules are tightened.

"We think what the Trump administration is doing makes of lot of sense,” says Kristina Rasmussen of The Foundation for Government Accountability, "because there should not be a single millionaire on food stamps.”

The issue, she says, is a well-known loophole dating back to the Clinton administration known as “broad-based categorical eligibility” which allows states to waive the standard tests, even income, for eligibility.

"It's our estimates right now that there are more than five million people that don't actually meet the eligibility requirements for food stamps but are on the program anyway because of this loophole,” Rasmussen tells OneNewsNow. “And that's what the Trump administration is trying to fix."

The left-wing reaction has been predictably fierce.  

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) called the proposal the “latest act of staggering callousness,” and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) vowed to fight to make the cuts "never become a reality."

There is currently a 60-day public comment period before USDA takes action. 

credit card swipeMedia outlets such as NPR suggest what the Trump administration calls a “loophole” is really income flexibility that helps, for example, poor senior citizens with assets that typically disqualify them or a factory worker who could lose SNAP benefits after working extra hours.

An op-ed in the L.A. Times suggested the Trump administration is cruelly searching for budget cuts that hurt the working poor who depend on SNAP to survive. There is very little proven fraud in the program despite right-wing concerns, the columnist claims. 

But the same commentary acknowledged why USDA is taking action: to demonstrate the program’s generous loopholes, a Minnesota millionaire enrolled in SNAP because it looked at his retirement income but ignored his $1 million-plus in assets. He then collected more than $5,000 in unqualified benefits over 19 months.

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