The Trump administration rule finalized massive cuts in SNAP, better known as food stamps, in December.
In large part, the new rule clamps down on the rights of individual states to create waivers and otherwise allow more people to receive SNAP benefits. And some states (largely Democratic-leaning ones) are not going to let the rule pass without a fight. According to the Washington Post, 14 states, as well as both the cities of Washington, D.C. and New York City, filed a lawsuit on Thursday seeking to block the new rule.
That new rule would, according to a study, result in benefits being removed from millions of Americans. It would remove an auto-enroll feature, and would change eligibility waivers for able-bodied adults without dependents. All of this was designed to reduce the number of Americans receiving food assistance—a curious goal, considering the overwhelming effectiveness and efficiency of the SNAP program, and the fact that there are far more food-insecure people in this country than there are people enrolled in the program.
The lawsuit alleges that the new rule unlawfully strips a state’s right to administer services to its citizens. It also says that the rule was created without due diligence as to its effects, and that a federal rule like this will not apply equally to all Americans. After all, the expenses and finances of a food-insecure person in New York City are not the same as those of a food-insecure person in rural Iowa.
But the larger issue is that cuts to SNAP are simply unethical at their core. “Denying access to vital SNAP benefits would only push hundreds of thousands of already vulnerable Americans into greater economic uncertainty,” New York State Attorney General Tish James said in a conference call, according to Politico.
The new rule is set to go into practice on April 1st of 2020.