Under the current regulations of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), states have a relatively wide degree of flexibility to decide who qualifies for the program and the ability to issue waivers allowing people to do things like own a car so they can drive to a job and still enroll in food stamps.
States can also automatically enroll children into free school lunch programs if their family is also enrolled in the food stamp program, but the Trump regime aims to remove all of that flexibility and kick up to 3 million people off the program.
Teachers and education experts who testified in front of the House Oversight Committee yesterday say about 1 million children will be kicked off automatic free lunch as a result of the change.
The four people who testified Thursday said that a proposed Agriculture Department rule change to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, was a fundamental misunderstanding of a regulation known as broad-based categorical eligibility, or BBCE. As of now, states are allowed to waive asset tests — ignoring whether recipients have a car, assets or savings — and raise gross income eligibility limits.
Currently, a family of three can qualify for SNAP if they earn 130 percent of the federal poverty level, or $27,700, or if states raise that to 200 percent, $40,840. The Agriculture Department proposes to do away with that state flexibility.
Critics argue that eliminating BBCE would limit states' flexibility to address their unique populations, leave more than 3 million people without access to food through SNAP and cause nearly a million children to lose their automatic enrollment in the national school breakfast and lunch programs.
This is contradictory policy from the Trump regime that illustrates that cruelty is the point.
The Trump regime has spent over $20 billion on bailouts for the American agricultural industry so far, but that's also what the food stamp program is. The SNAP program is not just a social welfare program; it's also a stimulus program for the agricultural industry. Every dollar spent on foods stamps results in nearly two dollars of economic activity that flows from grocers to farmers.
To say that we're going to spend tens of billions bailing out farmers and then cut the food stamp program exposes the fact that it's not about costs; it's not about saving money. The federal government is spending money like it's going out of style right now and running up a deficit that could reach $1.3 trillion in fiscal 2021 according to the Congressional Budget Office.
This is social engineering from a regime that believes the poor deserve to go hungry while Republican-voting farmers are literally paid not to plant anything in some cases.