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Chair Fudge Statement on Court Ruling Striking Down USDA's Attempt to Strip SNAP Away for ABAWDs

WASHINGTON (October 19, 2020)- House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition and Oversight Marcia Fudge released the following statement after the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia struck down the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rule to strip Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits away from able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs).

"I am pleased the District Court ruled on the side of decency and respect. Amid a global pandemic that has drastically affected the livelihoods of American families, it is deeply concerning the Trump Administration used this time to go after low income adults. We should be doing everything in our power right now to help struggling Americans put food on the table. Instead, the Administration chose to move forward with placing at least 700,000 people at risk of losing critical food assistance at a time when they need it most. This ruling is a victory for low-income people everywhere. While I celebrate this, I will continue to hold this Administration accountable for its repeated attempts to strip benefits from people in need."

On March 13, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order to temporarily block stricter work requirements in USDA’s SNAP ABAWD rule scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2020. The order stayed most of the SNAP ABAWD final rule, while the district court moved forward with reviewing whether to reverse the rule. On March 18, 2020, Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which suspended existing work requirements for ABAWDs during the pandemic. Today’s decision formally strikes down the entire rule.

The court’s decision criticized the U.S. Department of Agriculture for being “icily silent about how many ABAWDs would have been denied SNAP benefits had the changes sought in the Final Rule been in effect while the pandemic rapidly spread across the country and congressional action had not intervened to suspend any time limits of receipt of those benefits.” The court also criticized the Department for disregarding the adverse impact of the rule on minorities, women, and persons with disabilities.
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