Sonny Perdue and Brandon Lipps, two men who sound like villains you might find in a movie on Disney+ from the 1950s but are actually real human people, announced rules on Tuesday that will cost almost 700,000 people their access to food stamps. Perdue (whose Wikipedia page makes sure to note he has no relation to Perdue Farms, thank god), currently serves as the Agricultural Secretary in the Trump administration, while Lipps is the deputy undersecretary for the USDA’s Food Nutrition and Consumer Services (which I believe just makes him the Dolores Umbridge of food?).
The new rules, which were presented under the guise of encouraging and enabling Americans to find work as part of President Trump’s Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility executive order, actually just strip them of access to necessary rights they are entitled to. “This Administration is out of touch with families who are struggling to make ends meet by working seasonal jobs or part time jobs with unreliable hours.” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.
The rules, which limit states’ ability to wave regulations that stipulate folks between the ages of 18 and 49 who are childless and not disabled must work at least 20 hours a week for more than three months over a 36-month period to qualify for food stamps, directly impact areas with populations with high rates of unemployment. In order to waive the regulation the unemployment rate must be 6% or higher, although the national average was 3.6% in October.
Previously, an effort to include these measures in SNAP requirements was voted down in The House in a bi-partisan vote of 330-83, while a Senate vote took down a similar amendment in a vote of 68-30. Surprise, even Congress understands that the point of SNAP is not to make people work, but to feed them, so that they can work, or so that they can live, which is even more important if you can believe it.
It’s estimated that by the time Perdue, Lipps and the rest of the sepia-toned villains in the Trump administration are done issuing these rules (this was one of three) an estimated 3.7 million fewer people will receive SNAP, while zero million more will have found work as a result.