Subject: Two Weeks Left to Comment to Protect Food Assistance for Struggling Workers and Families
As we shared last month, food assistance is at risk — again — and your voice is needed.
Even though Congress and the Trump Administration just debated and renewed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through the farm bill at the end of 2018, the Trump Administration is now proposing to implement through executive action what it failed to secure through legislation: taking away food assistance from struggling workers and families through harsh cuts and changes to SNAP.
We need your help to generate lots of public comments making clear that this proposed federal regulation would vastly increase food insecurity. The deadline to submit comments is Tuesday, April 2, so it’s time to get commenting! Visit http://bit.ly/SNAPRuleCampaign to get started.
Here’s what you need to know about the proposed regulation:
Federal law already limits SNAP benefits to just three months out of every three years for adults without dependent children unless they can document that they work at least 20 hours a week or that they meet an exemption. States can request waivers to temporarily suspend the time limit in areas with high unemployment. They also have a flexible but limited ability to exempt individuals such as those who lack a high school diploma or face other high barriers to finding steady work.
Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed making the existing time limit even harsher. USDA’s proposed rule would restrict states’ ability to waive these time limits in many areas where there are too few jobs and limit states’ flexible pool of individual exemptions. By USDA’s own estimates, its proposal would eliminate SNAP benefits for 755,000 adults and cut SNAP benefits by $15 billion over 10 years.
Feeding America, the Food Research & Action Center, the Center for American Progress, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities are helping coordinate comments to oppose this rule.
If we generate lots of comments opposing this proposed rule, we may be able to prevent some of the harmful consequences by delaying the final version of the rule or forcing it to be changed.
Here’s what you can do to help stop this rule:
1. Submit comments from your organization (NEW templates available!)
We’ve developed a general template of comments for organizations that can be easily customized. There are also templates for faith organizations and organizations that focus on children, health issues, immigrants and communities of color, seniors, and other populations or issues. All the templates are listed on the campaign page: http://bit.ly/SNAPRuleCampaign.
Once you customize your comments, you can upload the file or cut and paste your comments into the online submission form on Regulations.gov. Or, if you prefer, you can mail comments to: Certification Policy Branch, Program Development Division, FNS, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22302. The comments just need to be there by April 2.
2. Ask your grassroots networks to generate comments.
It is vital that we generate a significant volume of comments in opposition to the rule. Ask your networks, your grassroots advocates, volunteers, staff, and others to submit individual comments in opposition to the rule. Every comment counts!
We have developed digital comment platforms to make this process as easy as possible. Feel free to use any of the options below that work best for your organization, or you can leverage your own platform to tailor the message to your audience.
Feeding America comment platform: http://bit.ly/FASNAPComments
The Center for American Progress comment platform: handsoffsnap.org
Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) comment platform: http://www.frac.org/timelimitcomments
This is a great place to get creative! For example, Feeding America network members from Montana to Pennsylvania and everywhere in between are passing out postcards to agency partners and the people they serve so they can easily submit their thoughts.
3. Encourage other organizations in your state to submit comments and to ask their networks to weigh in as well.
Comments are counted individually, so please don’t do a sign-on letter with multiple organizations listed — that would only count as one comment! And please ask everyone in your networks to submit individual comments.
For additional resources and details about the SNAP comments campaign, please visit http://bit.ly/SNAPRuleCampaign. We’ve got sample graphics, talking points, and more.
And if Twitter is your thing, join us on social media every week to help raise awareness about this proposed rule and encourage people across the country, from all different perspectives, to comment. There’s a full social media calendar at http://bit.ly/SNAPRuleCampaign, with different themes and activities each week.
Thank you for jumping into action to oppose this SNAP rule. We have two weeks left to generate as many comments as we can, so we appreciate everything you can do to spread the word and submit your own comments.
In last year’s farm bill debate, you helped make it clear that these harmful proposals were the wrong approach. Now it’s time to sound the same message at the administrative level and protect food assistance for hundreds of thousands of people in need.
Louisa, Deborah, and the CBPP team
As a reminder, the information in these Scoop emails is meant only for you and other state-based advocates who work on these issues. Please do not share or forward these emails to press or any legislative staff.