Fourteen states and two cities sue to block Trump administration from cutting off food stamp benefits

A coalition of 14 states along with Washington, D.C., and New York City sued Thursday to block the Trump administration from cutting off food stamp benefits from nearly 700,000 unemployed people, the first of three such planned measures to restrict the federal food safety net.

The Agriculture Department finalized the new rule in December, eliminating states’ discretion to waive work requirements in distressed economic areas — a change that would slash nearly $5.5 billion from food stamp spending over five years.

In the lawsuit, attorneys general from the District, Maryland, Virginia, New York, California and other states, warned that “drastic” cuts would affect 688,000 to 850,000 adults without children. They asserted the justification for the cuts were based on no evidence and ignored local labor market conditions.

The Washington Post:

Details: The new rule, finalized in December, is the first of three planned efforts to limit the federal food safety net and applies to able-bodied adults without children or dependents. The changes are expected to go through in April.

-USDA expects the changes to save nearly $5.5 billion over five years.

-Two other proposed rule changes seek to “cap deductions for utility allowance and to limit access to [food stamp benefits] for working poor families,” the Post notes. Neither of the two outstanding rules have been finalized yet.

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