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In new public comment to Trump Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Senator Murray denounced the proposed rule and outlined the extreme effect it would have on Washington state children and families

Senator Murray’s comment was also joined by Washington state Representatives Schrier and Smith

Proposed Trump Administration rule would preclude Washington state’s ability to offer Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to more than 175,000 Washingtonians

Senator Murray: “If this proposed rule is implemented, the consequences for Washingtonians will be devastating and disproportionate”

(Washington, D.C.) – As the public comment period comes to a close on President Trump’s proposed rule that would drastically restrict Washington state’s ability to provide food assistance to people and families in need, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), joined by U.S. Representatives Kim Schrier (D-WA, 8th) and Adam Smith (D-WA, 9th), submitted a comment to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue blasting the proposed rule and urging the Trump Administration to reverse course. The proposed rule would have an overwhelming impact on Washington state families, eliminating the state’s ability to offer SNAP benefits to more than 60,000 children, 35,000 households, and 15,000 elderly individuals by changing how the state can use Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) to increase the Federal Poverty Limit (FPL) for SNAP eligibility. In the public comment, Senator Murray also slammed the glaring lack of regulatory review that went into drafting the proposed rule, and the rule’s clear violation of Congressional intent for SNAP eligibility.

“If this proposed rule is implemented, the consequences for Washingtonians will be devastating and disproportionate,” Senator Murray wrote. “An estimated 175,600 Washingtonians, including children under five, seniors, and low-income families will lose access to critical food security benefits.”

SNAP is a crucial program in Washington state and across the country that helps to reduce food insecurity, improve nutrition, and reduce poverty for low-income people and families. Should the Trump Administration rule go into effect, more than 175,000 Washingtonians would no longer be eligible for this vital assistance, as the Trump Administration rule removes states’ ability to expand SNAP eligibility to people and families with a household income that is up to 200 percent of the FPL via BBCE. The proposed rule would also cause more than 15,000 children to lose access to free school lunches they are currently receiving through SNAP.

In addition to the harm it would inflict upon low-income families and individuals across the state, the proposed rule would also negatively impact the state’s government and economy. According to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Service (DSHS), implementing the changes mandated by the new rule would require the state to hire more than 150 new full-time employees, placing an increased administrative burden upon DSHS and financial burden upon state taxpayers. Finally, by removing more than 175,000 Washingtonians from the SNAP program, the rule would also negatively impact the state’s economy, directly reducing food spending by about $25 million.

Senator Murray has consistently fought against efforts by the Trump Administration to limit SNAP eligibility, leading a letter with all of Washington state’s Democratic delegation earlier this month to oppose the proposed rule change, and sending another letter today protesting the proposed rule’s blatant disregard for Congressional intent with regards to SNAP eligibility.

Read the full public comment HERE.

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