WASHINGTON- The United States Department of Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary who oversees the SNAP (food stamp) program, says he wants the see controversial new rules finalized soon.
The agency says new policies will close state loopholes and stop fraud, but opponents call the changes cruel and life threatening.
“We’re going to continue moving as quickly as we can to restore integrity,” says Brandon Lipps with the USDA.
Lipps with the USDA says the Trump Administration is moving full steam ahead with its proposed changes to the nation’s food stamp program- SNAP. The momentum comes despite protests from Democrats on Capitol Hill.
“They are hurtful and an assault on poor people,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge, (D) Ohio.
Fudge says the policies requiring states to enforce stricter eligibility requirements will eventually throw four-million Americans off the program, including kids reliant on the free or reduced lunch program.
“How do you take food from hungry children,” Fudge asked.
“That’s a bit of a misconception. None of our rules kick anyone off the program,” said the USDA’s Brandon Lipps.
Lipps says in many cases, the changes only require a little more paperwork.
“Most of those kids will come back on by filling out that one page application,” Lipps said.
But the new rules mean some lose their SNAP benefits.
The USDA says it’s closing state loopholes allowing people who need don’t food stamps to get them.
“There’s no asset test so millionaires can legally come on the program and access the program,” Lipps said. “But are you seeing any data, I guess, that’s showing people who are actually using it that don’t need it? We don’t have evidence on the assets of the individuals coming on to the food stamp program eligibility because we don’t ask people about their assets.”
Right now several states are suing the Trump Administration to prevent the changes, but the first of three changes is already set to effect in April. The other two are pending.