Trump wants to kick people off food stamps since Congress wouldn't


Trump is truly a Scrooge.

A week before Christmas, Trump is literally planning to take food away from struggling families.

The Trump administration will propose a draconian rule that could cause hundreds of thousands of families to lose access to nutritious food, the Washington Post reports.

Under current rules, the overwhelming majority of able-bodied adults who receive food stamps must also try to find employment. But states whose unemployment rates are at least 20 percent higher than the national rate can apply to waive the work requirement, so that families can keep putting food on the table even during a localized economic downturn.

But Trump wants to change all that.

"The USDA is now proposing that states could waive the requirement only in areas where unemployment is above 7 percent," the Post reports. That's a huge increase from about 4.5 percent under the current rule and the current national unemployment rate.

More than 750,000 people who receive food assistance live in areas that would lose the waivers. Those people will have to jump through unnecessary bureaucratic hoops in order to feed their families, and could even risk losing their benefits.

What's more, Trump is trying to use his executive power to subvert the will of Congress.

Trump begged Congress to pass the harsher food stamp work requirements using the farm bill, and Republicans like failed retiring Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) tried to do Trump's bidding.

In the end, however, Democrats stood united against this cruelty, and Ryan didn't have enough GOP votes to make them budge. The final farm bill was a victory for compassion and a defeat for Republicans.

But what Congress failed to do through proper legislative channels, Trump is now trying to do on his own.

That's not how executive rulemaking is supposed to work, said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the lead Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

"Congress writes laws, and the administration is required to write rules based on the law," Stabenow told the Post. "Administrative changes should not be driven by ideology. I do not support unilateral and unjustified changes that would take food away from families."

The cruel food stamp proposal is far from the first attempt by Trump and Republicans to attack the poorest members of our society.

The GOP spent months crafting a disastrous health care bill that would have kicked millions of families off their health insurance.

After that effort failed, Ryan rallied Republicans behind an unpopular tax scam that showered even more wealth upon the richest one percent while leaving most families out in the cold.

In the Charles Dickens classic, "A Christmas Carol," a person approaches the wealthy Ebeneezer Scrooge seeking a donation to help those in need. "At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time," the man pleads.

Scrooge scoffs that the poor should hurry up and die and "decrease the surplus population."

The Republican Party, and especially Trump, seem to favor Scrooge's approach to Americans who are struggling.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.