Kaul, other AG colleagues condemn food stamp cuts

By: - September 25, 2019 7:23 am
Food Mart sign

Photo by Jason Dent on Unsplash.

Calling a Trump administration proposal to cut up to 3.6 million people off from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits “nothing short of cruel,” Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul signed on as one of 24 state attorneys general filing a joint comment opposing the measure.

Attorney General Josh Kaul
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul

“If it goes into effect, thousands of Wisconsinites will lose their FoodShare benefits,” Kaul said in a statement Tuesday. “More than half of the Wisconsinites who will lose those benefits will be children or seniors. And, this rule will result in increased bureaucracy and administrative costs.” 

The proposed United States Department of Agriculture rule change to eliminate “broad-based categorical eligibility” under SNAP, which is often referred to as “food stamps” would cut more than three million Americans from the program, including 500,000 children, according to estimates from various groups.

In their letter, the attorneys general called the proposed rule a violation of federal law that would harm the states, their residents, local economies and public health.

Broad-based categorical eligibility enables states to adjust eligibility for food stamps based on local economic conditions and other factors. The attorneys general comment condemns the cut for depriving low-income Americans of $10.5 billion in SNAP benefits over four years; for threatening public health and raising health care costs; for removing 265,000 children from free school meal programs; for cutting SNAP benefits from seniors in more than 13% of households that receive the benefits; for harming state economies and for imposing new administrative burdens on states.

They also contend it violates the federal law that governs how the government implements rule changes, conflicts with the intent of Congress and exceeds the authority of the USDA.

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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Senior Reporter Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.