A Trump-era proposal to close a food stamp program loophole has been killed by the Biden administration.
This is the second time in the early months of the Biden administration that former President Donald Trump’s efforts to trim the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program have been overturned.
Earlier this year, the Biden administration rejected a rule that would have required more food stamp recipients to be working to obtain benefits.
Now, the Biden administration has scrapped a 2019 proposal that sought to end the ability of states to set their own income and assets limits for the program by getting an exemption from the federal limits, CNN reported Wednesday.
For example, the federal rule that a recipient’s income must be no more than 130 percent of the poverty line has been adapted by some states to be as high as 200 percent.
“This proposal will not only save money, but more importantly it preserves the integrity of the program while ensuring nutrition assistance programs serve those most in need,” then-Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said when the program was announced.
The USDA estimated the change would have saved the federal government $2.5 billion a year, and that 3 million people would have their food stamp benefits cut.
Perdue called SNAP a “temporary safety net” and said the Trump administration was trying to help people “move away from SNAP dependency.”
The loophole’s downside was noted by the Foundation for Economic Education in its retelling of the saga of Rob Undersander, a retired engineer with vast wealth who still received food stamps under Minnesota’s application of the rule Trump wanted to kill.
Undersander was condemned by Democrats during a congressional hearing.
“These were not the first Democrats that wanted to send me to jail,” Undersander said.
“The problem is, I was following their rules and the laws that they support.”
He said that he was amazed when he learned food stamps did not take into account an applicant’s assets.
“I was shocked,” he said. “I don’t like it when taxpayer money is wasted.”
The loophole is “egregious and unnecessary,” Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota said.
“A man with assets in the millions — who was able to receive more than a nominal SNAP benefit month after month because of Minnesota’s abuses of their administrative flexibility — Mr. Undersander is not alone,” he said.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.