The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday a bill that could eliminate the federal food stamp program for nearly 700,000 people by strictly enforcing work requirements.
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The measure, which was proposed by the Department of Agriculture in February, will require eligible adults without children to work at least 20 hours a week so as not to lose their benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
That way, it will be more difficult for state governors to give up those requirements in areas where there are economic difficulties.
The Republican president’s administration says the change is intended to encourage those who receive food stamps to get a job, but several groups fear that the action will harm low-income people who cannot find a stable job.
According to the logic of the Department of Agriculture, as the economy improved under the Trump regime, assistance for unemployed and disabled adults is no longer necessary in a strong labor market.
Government can be a powerful force for good, but government dependence has never been the American dream, News Agency Prensa Latina states on the matter. U.S Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, commented that they need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand, but not allowing it to become an undefined hand.
"The overall unemployment rate is really a measure of the entire labor market and not of people without a high school diploma who are incredibly poor and may lack transportation," Stacey Dean, vice president of food assistance policy at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, declared.
Washington went ahead with the bill released on Wednesday despite the fact that most of the 140,000 public comments issued on the new regulation were negative.
The Trump administration is bringing hunger to the vulnerable just as the holiday season approaches. Leader of the Democratic minority in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, called the Republican President “ruthless and cruel”.
A study released last week by the Urban Institute showed that the three SNAP regulations combined could cause 3.7 million people to stop accessing coupons every month.