U.S. Senator Tina Smith, in Bipartisan Effort, Urges Trump Administration to Keep SNAP Benefits for Families

WASHINGTON D.C. [03/29/19] – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) raised concerns about a proposed rule to make harmful changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—which would affect some 1.1 million people across the country—and urged the Trump Administration to withdraw the proposal. 

In a bipartisan letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Sen. Smith emphasized the administration’s proposal is in direct contradiction to Congressional intent and would hurt many families struggling to find stable employment. The letter was led by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

“Congress recognizes that one-size-fits-all rules for SNAP and employment practices actually end up fitting no one,” the Senators wrote. “While this Administration has promoted local control in many other sectors of federal policy, this proposed rule removes critical local input and flexibility. This proposal ignores the intent of Congress, would worsen hunger in this country, and would do nothing to help increase stable, long-term employment or move individuals to self-sufficiency. We urge you to immediately withdraw this proposed rule.”

Despite initial proposals by the President and some Members of Congress to do so, Congress chose to include no changes to SNAP work rules or states’ ability to waive the work requirements in the 2018 Farm Bill. An amendment to further restrict states’ ability to provide geographic waivers for able-bodied adults without dependents participation in SNAP was rejected by the House of Representatives by a vote of 83-330.  A similar amendment proposed in the Senate was rejected (tabled) by a bipartisan vote of 68-30.

You can read the full letter here: 

In addition to Sens. Smith, Stabenow, and Murkowski, the letter was also signed by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Robert Casey (D-Penn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick  Leahy (D-Vt.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.),  Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jackie Rosen (D-Nev.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), John Tester (D-Mont.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).