Published On: Wed, Dec 4th, 2019

Pennsylvania officials blast Trump Administration cuts to food assistance

Jonathan Weiss | Shutterstock.com

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller today spoke out against a rule released by the Trump Administration that limits states’ ability to waive work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) based on local unemployment rates.

At least 78,000 people in Pennsylvania depend on SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, to afford food.

“Despite so much wealth in America, too many of our citizens are struggling to make ends meet and even put food on the table,” Gov. Wolf said. “Food insecurity is a crisis in our country. Today’s decision will simply hurt those already suffering.”

“We can be smarter about government spending without hurting our most vulnerable residents,” added Wolf. “We can invest in programs that remove barriers to family-sustaining jobs and make it possible for low-income Americans to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.”

The USDA, who released the final rule, argued that the move restores the original intent of the SNAP program as “a second chance, not a way of life.”

“We need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand, but not allowing it to become an indefinitely giving hand,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “Now, in the midst of the strongest economy in a generation, we need everyone who can work, to work. This rule lays the groundwork for the expectation that able-bodied Americans re-enter the workforce where there are currently more job openings than people to fill them.”

“We want all Pennsylvanians to have the opportunity to achieve a vibrant, productive life and the self-sufficiency that can come from employment,” countered DHS Secretary Teresa Miller.  “This rule change does not invest in programs that help people find a job and succeed in employment. On the contrary, this counterproductive rule change will perpetuate the cycle of poverty and health inequity.”

“In Pennsylvania, we are investing in employment and training opportunities to help people along their path out of poverty,” Miller continued. “A work requirement is not an investment in programs that help people succeed in work and only perpetuates the demand for public assistance programs because it forces struggling people into a revolving door of low-paying, dead-end jobs.”

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  1. thasluprus@thraml.com' Sandra says:

    Knee-jerk reaction? Blame President Trump. Do a little research, this is simply returning the program to a time when recipients had to have a job to receive benefits. No job? No benefits. Too lazy to work? No benefits. No one capable of working, especially in this economy, should be receiving benefits without working. Families with minor children and people working, but struggling, are exempt from these cuts.

  2. samesamesam@gmail.com' Uncommon Sense says:

    Food stamp benefit recipients often are hard working people with jobs. They are below poverty level may not be able to afford healthcare, car insurance let alone high living costs like rent these days. As a benefits recipient for many years, I hold and keep my jobs. Even at 15 an hour and side jobs my rent makes up WAY more than it should leaving me with insurance, gas spending, phone and Wi-Fi bills and … Food? Yeah right. To survive on 100 left over or 250 cash left over of a paycheck after BILLS from a high living cost, is ridiculous. You check your math please, ask a food stamp recipient and widen your perspective on people who are hard working Americans.

  3. Tsubotkowski@gmail.com' Common Sense says:

    Wow, the injustice.

    I remember my first job…standing in line in Kensington super market because it was cheapest around.

    Me- generic everything. Lady in front – oreos, captain crunch, name brand everything and more milk and cheese than anyone could eat.

    Pissed because her WIC card resulted in a .60 cent bill.

    Cue worlds smallest violin. Sorry, handouts are closed in 2020.

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