1. Update
  2. Economic Justice

We Can Stop This Attack on People Struggling with Hunger and Food Insecurity

By Amelia Kegan, Andre Gobbo, February 21, 2019


On Feb. 1, 2019, the Trump Administration proposed a new rule to restrict states' flexibility to provide vital food assistance to individuals and families who struggle with hunger.

This new attack against the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) directly contradicts Congress's intent in the recently-passed Farm Bill reauthorization. If this proposed rule change goes through, it will make it harder for people to access SNAP and more people will go hungry. By USDA’s own estimate, at least 755,000 people would lose access to life-saving nutrition benefits.

This proposal is harmful and ignores the reality of many struggling Americans. We have an opportunity to stop this rule before it goes into place.

Help stop this rule by submitting a public comment against this proposal before April 2.

Whenever a new rule is proposed by the federal government, there is an opportunity for the public to express their support or opposition. The administration must consider what impact their proposals will have on the nation. We know that making it harder to access food assistance won’t help people find a job. Your voice is needed.

FCNL is joining with other interfaith and secular organizations to help drive comments against this rule. Government officials reviewing the proposed rule are required to read and consider every single comment. The more comments submitted, the longer it will take for the rule to go into effect. It will also demonstrate that this proposal has widespread opposition and will adversely affect individuals and families across the U.S. Use the talking points below to help craft your comment.

What's at Stake

Under current law, states can acquire a waiver that allows them to extend SNAP benefits to some childless adults who are struggling to find work or maintain steady employment, beyond the strict three month time limit on benefits. Typically such waivers are applied during times of high unemployment or economic recession when jobs are most difficult to find.

This new proposed rule would severely restrict state’s ability to waive the time limit, making it harder for people who are already struggling to access food assistance.

How to Talk about the Proposed Rule

Create your own comment based on your beliefs. Use these statements to help make your point:

  • By USDA’s own estimate, the proposed rule change would result in 755,000 people losing access to life-saving nutrition benefits.

  • This proposal is out of touch with the reality of struggling Americans. Taking away food from people who are underemployed and unemployed won't help them find a job.

  • It ignores the realities of people who work inconsistent hours, lack access to transportation, live in areas where the economy has been slow to recover, or are unable to access employment and training programs—all of whom could fail to meet the harsh time limits imposed on SNAP recipients.

  • Religious congregations and charitable organizations cannot make up the difference. National nutrition programs provide more than 10 times more food assistance than private charity.

  • This new attack against SNAP is an attempt to circumvent congressional intent as laid out in the recently-passed bipartisan Farm Bill reauthorization. Instead of rulemaking that jeopardizes food assistance, USDA should focus on implementing the 2018 Farm Bill provisions that will help Americans get back to work.

Ready to submit your comment? Follow this link to submit it into the federal register.

Faith Community Webinar: Responding to SNAP Waiver Rule Change

On February 20, 2019, FCNL's Diane Randall joined interfaith leaders for a special for a webinar on how to submit comments to USDA on this critically important issue. Watch a recording of the webinar below.

Amelia Kegan

  • Legislative Director, Domestic Policy

Amelia Kegan leads the domestic policy team's work in analyzing legislation, advocating on Capitol Hill, and developing legislative strategy. Prior to coming to FCNL, Amelia worked at a variety of other national non-profits in D.C. and Chicago, focusing on federal budget, tax, and low-income policy.

Andre Gobbo

  • Legislative Representative, Domestic Policy

Andre Gobbo adds capacity to the Domestic Policy team by handling constituent queries, writing action alerts and sign-on letters, assisting with lobbying visits, creating informational content, supporting coalition relationships, and helping execute FCNL’s legislative strategies. He primarily works on issues relating to economic justice and gun violence prevention but also assists other domestic policy initiatives. He also serves as the co-chair of the Policy & Advocacy subcommittee within the Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence coalition.