Thirteen states and the cities of Washington, D.C. and New York filed suit against the Trump administration Thursday seeking to halt a rule that would toughen requirements for food-stamp recipients across the country.
The suit, which names the Department of Agriculture as a defendant, claims the administration did not follow proper procedures and improperly limited the ability of states and local governments to allow residents to continue participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
“Under well-settled law, the executive branch does not get to go forth with policies that Congress specifically rejected,” District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine said.
The rule, scheduled to take effect April 1, would require that adults under 50 who are not supporting children must work or be in vocational training at least 20 hours per week to receive food stamps on a regular basis. Without meeting those requirements, such individuals would be allowed only three months of food stamps every three years.
The rule cracks down on a waiver states and local governments have been granted in the past exempting them from the requirements, which allowed people to continue receiving food stamps if the labor market was tough in a particular locality.
“No one should have to choose between a hot meal and paying their rent,” read a statement from California attorney general Xavier Becerra upon announcement of the suit. “Yet again, the Trump Administration has failed to offer any legitimate evidence to justify decisions that have real consequences for the health and well-being of our residents.”
The rule would boot from the program approximately 688,000 of the 34 million people currently receiving food stamps, including 400,000 Californians.