Pennsylvania, 13 other states sue to stop food stamp cuts

Regional

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania and 14 other states have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to block a rule that would eliminate food stamps for an estimated 688,000 Americans.

Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro and his counterparts say the rule directly undermines Congress’ intent for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and that the USDA violated the federal rulemaking process.

Additionally, the attorneys general argue the rule would impose significant regulatory burdens on the states and harm states’ residents and economies.

Shapiro said 80,000 people in Pennsylvania would be affected.

“The rule punishes people in both rural and urban communities just because there aren’t always enough jobs,” Shapiro said in a statement. “People already suffer when jobs disappear—needlessly taking away access to food only punishes them further.”

The rule set to go into effect on April 1 requires able-bodied adults under age 50 and with no dependent children to work at least 20 hours a week to consistently receive food stamps. Otherwise, they can receive three months of food stamps every three years.

When he announced the rule in December, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said it will “restore the system to what Congress intended: assistance through difficult times, not a way of life.”

“We need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand but not allowing it to become an indefinitely giving hand,” Perdue said in a statement.

“This rule lays the groundwork for the expectation that able-bodied Americans re-enter the workforce where there are currently more job openings than people to fill them.”

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