On a press call hosted by For Our Future Ohio, Ohio officials, anti-hunger advocates, and policy experts denounced a Trump administration proposal that could kick millions of Americans — including thousands of Ohioans — off of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps. Speakers also highlighted the devastating impact the Trump administration’s proposal could have on children, including those who receive free school meals.
In July, the Trump administration proposed a rule that, if enacted, could rip food assistance away from an estimated 3.1 million Americans, including people living in households with children, seniors, and people with disabilities. The proposed rule also threatens free school meals for more than 500,000 children nationwide.
On Thursday, Senator Fedor also announced that Ohio Senate Democrats submitted a letter to the Trump administration expressing their disapproval of the proposed rule. The public can submit comments on the Trump administration’s proposal through September 23, 2019.
Here’s what Ohio experts and advocates are saying about the administration’s cruel and misguided proposal:
Ohio Senator Teresa Fedor:
This is a human rights issue. The current categorical eligibility rule supports working families’ ability to move out of poverty. This president, with this rule change, believes in kicking the ladder out from underneath the families lifting themselves out of poverty from reaching the American Dream.”
“I hope my Republican counterparts submit comment against this rule like some Democrat members plan to… we need to absolutely put a stake in the ground and say ‘President, your cruel policies are not going to be accepted in Ohio.’”
Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, Executive Director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks:
On behalf of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, Ohio’s largest charitable response to hunger, we stand with our 12 foodbanks and 3,541 non-profit and faith-based charities, including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other supplemental and emergency food assistance providers, to speak out loudly and clearly and to denounce one more attempt by the Trump administration to circumvent the will of Congress and to take basic food assistant away from the poorest of the poor in our state and nation.”
“It’s cruel, it’s mean-spirited, and will hurt the very working families who are playing by the rules and attempting to make ends meet.”
Joe Logan, President of the Ohio Farmers Union
Hunger and poverty are afflictions that are shared among both rural and urban communities… Programs such as SNAP are critical to those rural communities as well.”
“The Farmers Union is delighted to be associated with resisting this new rule change that would not only hurt farmers and hurt people in rural communities, but it would actually hurt all Americans.”
Ashon McKenzie, Policy Director of the Children’s Defense Fund – Ohio:
This rule change is a major problem for Ohio’s children… Childhood hunger carries with it real-world consequences for children. Studies show that children from homes who lack access to food have worse health outcomes; they’re sick more often, more likely to be hospitalized; they suffer physical and developmental impairments. Academically, they struggle and have lower academic achievement because hunger makes it difficult for a child to be prepared for school, enter the classroom ready to learn, or to concentrate.”
“This rule change will add a new burden for millions of families already struggling to make ends meet.”
Will Petrik, Budget Researcher at Policy Matters Ohio:
All Ohioans need access to nutritious food and other basic needs to live with dignity and basic security… This policy would have a devastating impact on low-income kids, families, older adults, and people with disabilities who could all lose access to the most basic human need, which is food and nutrition.”
“We continue to ask the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to provide statewide and county-level estimates of how many Ohioans could be impacted by the rule.”
Roughly 1.3 million Ohio residents rely on food stamps. Nationwide, roughly two-thirds of SNAP participants are in families with children.