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Monday, September 30, 2019

AG Nessel fights for 145,000 Michigan residents who could lose food assistance under Trump administration

Posted By on Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 5:07 PM

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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is joining the fight against the Trump administration's proposal to reduce the number of people who are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

As many as 145,000 impoverished Michigan residents could lose food assistance and free school lunches under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plan.

Currently, people who are receiving federal and state assistance are automatically eligible for SNAP, formerly known as food stamps.

The plan aims to end automatic eligibility by requiring recipients to undergo income and asset tests.

In a comment letter against the proposal, Nessel and 23 other attorneys general argue the changes would violate federal law and harm local economies, public health, and struggling residents.

“This proposed rule is entirely unacceptable and exhibits a blatant disregard for more than 10 percent of SNAP recipients in Michigan,” Nessel says in a statement. “I am horrified that the federal government feels comfortable not only in depriving adults of the essential assistance needed to put food on their tables, but also denying 58,743 Michigan children from eating lunch at school and consequently impacting their ability to learn.”  

Nessel says states have the right to determine eligibility based on factors like high costs of living or the costs of childcare. She and the other attorneys general argue that the proposed changes violate the federal Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which outlines how federal agencies implement rule changes. They also say the proposal lacks a legitimate justification and exceeds the USDA’s authority.

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