MAZON Condemns USDA Waiver Rule Change Proposal

December 20, 2018

Just days after the passage of the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill, the Trump administration has found another way to pursue strict work requirements: by proposing a rule through the USDA that will crack down on existing work requirement waivers.

In response to the proposed rule change announcement, Abby J. Leibman, President & CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, today issued the following statement:

“The President has demonstrated yet again his lack of respect for the rule of law and the legislative branch. Just as he’s signing one of the most important bipartisan pieces of legislation to come out of this Congress, he is circumventing Congressional intent through this executive action.

“Work requirements were a source of intense negotiation during the Farm Bill reauthorization process, but the end result brought Republicans and Democrats together in support of a measured compromise bill that protected the structure and funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and reflected the will of Congress. Now, with this move, President Trump is undermining the entire process in a way that will hurt millions of Americans who struggle to feed themselves and their families. This is nothing short of a subversion of democracy.

“Proposing to rescind state waivers for work requirements ignores the realities of millions of Americans who work inconsistent hours, lack access to transportation, live in areas where the economy has been slow to recover, or aren’t able to access employment and training programs—all of whom could fail to meet harsher work requirements and, as a result, would lose access to life-saving nutrition benefits.

“We are particularly outraged on behalf of America’s veterans, who will be severely impacted by this cruel proposal. Recent veterans have higher unemployment rates than their civilian counterparts, and may require more than three months to secure employment. This administration lauds the military when it’s politically advantageous, but has no regard for our servicemembers once they’ve returned. Exposing more veterans in need to this strict penalty is simply wrong. We cannot let this happen.”