Raúl Torrez | Attorney General

AG Balderas opposes unlawful Trump Administration effort to strip New Mexicans of Food Stamp benefits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 3rd, 2019

 Contact: David Carl (505) 288-2465

Albuquerque, NM – Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas opposed an unlawful Trump
administration effort to strip residents of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
benefits, commonly called “food stamps.” AG Balderas and 20 additional Attorneys General
filed a comment letter against a proposed United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) rule
that would limit states’ ability to extend SNAP benefits beyond a three-month period for certain
adults. This means more than 750,000 people nationwide could lose their nutrition benefits.
“This unlawful rule would unnecessarily impact thousands of New Mexicans who are simply
trying to provide for their families,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas. “I am disappointed,
but not surprised, that the Trump Administration would implement a rule that disproportionately
hurts low-income New Mexican families.”
The coalition argues that this rule actively undermines Congress’ intent in creating the foodstamp program; violates federal law because it is being implemented arbitrarily and without
sufficient justification; and would hurt the states’ economies and have a disproportionate impact
on protected groups.
The USDA proposed rule, “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Requirements for AbleBodied Adults Without Dependents,” would affect the SNAP program—the country’s most
important anti-hunger program. The program provides people with limited incomes the
opportunity to access nutritious food that they otherwise would not have. SNAP is a crucial
component of federal and state efforts to help lift people out of poverty.
While the federal government pays the full cost of SNAP benefits, it shares the costs of
administering the program on a 50-50 basis with the states, which operate the program. The 1996
federal welfare reform law limited the time period that unemployed able-bodied adults without
dependents could access SNAP benefits to three months. However, states have the ability to
request waivers for that time limit if the state or part of the state has an unemployment rate above
10 percent or does not have a sufficient number of jobs to provide employment for the SNAP
recipients who would otherwise lose their benefits. The proposed USDA rule would severely
restrict states’ ability to request such waivers.
The multistate letter to the USDA on its proposed SNAP rule is available
at: https://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2019-04/Multistate-SNAP-Letter.pdf 

Raul Torrez

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