Statement attributed to Michael J. Wilson, director of Maryland Hunger Solutions.
Baltimore, July 26, 2019 — The Trump administration has issued a proposed rule that would take food assistance away from thousands of eligible Marylanders in all parts of the state. The proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will particularly harm working families with children, and families and seniors with even modest amounts of savings.
Maryland is one of more than 40 states that currently implement the “broad-based categorical eligibility” (Cat El) option that allows it to streamline the SNAP application process, eliminate archaic asset tests, and assess the circumstances of more working households to determine what, if any, SNAP benefit their low net incomes qualify them to receive.
The proposed rule would cut off SNAP benefits for many people in need and take away free school meals for children in those households. At the same time, gutting this streamlining option would mean increased government spending on processing and red tape. On the national level, USDA estimates the proposed rule will cut five-year spending on SNAP benefits to households in need by more than $10 billion, but increase government administrative costs by over $2.3 billion.
The current Cat El option has been thoroughly vetted for more than two decades. It is the product of formal rulemaking and Congress has rejected proposals to alter it, most recently in the 2018 Farm Bill. This proposal is just another example of the Trump administration sidestepping Congress through unnecessary and harmful regulatory changes.
Maryland Hunger Solutions will continue to work with local agencies, nonprofit groups, and advocates throughout the state, as well as with national partners, such as the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), and anti-hunger allies around the country to oppose this rule. MDHS encourages people to submit comments on the rule via FRAC’s comment platform. The 60-day public comment period began on July 24.
In Maryland, over 600,000 people receive SNAP benefits, the majority of whom are children, seniors, and people with disabilities. There is no doubt that, if enacted, this rule would take food away from thousands of these Marylanders. It’s critically important that Marylanders use their voices to express their opposition to this unnecessary and ineffective proposal.
Maryland Hunger Solutions, an initiative of the Food Research & Action Center, works to end hunger and improve the nutrition, health, and well-being of children and families in Maryland.