Trump is quietly planning to take free lunch away from 500,000 school kids


The Trump administration's ploy to take food stamps away from 2 million Americans will also hurt a half-million schoolchildren.

The Trump administration failed to follow proper guidelines with a new proposed rule that would deny free lunch to half a million schoolchildren, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) said on Friday.

In the official proposed rule to take away food stamps from millions of Americans, the Trump administration failed to mention that the rule would also deny free lunch to 500,000 school children, Scott, chair of the House Education Committee, wrote in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

In a July 22 phone call between Department of Agriculture staff and Scott's staff, USDA officials said the new rule "will result in more than 500,000 children losing their automatic eligibility for free school meals," according to the letter.

Yet when the rule about the changes to food stamps was officially printed in the federal register, there was no mention of the impact on school children.

Scott points to an executive order mandating that all proposed rules include relevant scientific and technical findings,  which would include the impact on nutrition for a half-million children, Scott argues.

The rule the Trump administration proposed would end automatic eligibility for food stamps for people already receiving state or federal assistance. However, food stamp eligibility is used to automatically enroll children into free lunch programs, thus reducing paperwork for both families and government offices, according to NBC News. If the children no longer receive food stamps, their automatic enrollment in free lunches would end.

Anti-poverty advocates told NBC News that requiring more red tape and paperwork burdens could result in some children who need free lunches falling through the cracks.

Scott opposed the rule when it came out, arguing it "is a counterproductive proposal that will make low-income students pay for the irresponsible Republican tax cut, which overwhelmingly benefited corporations and the wealthy while adding more than $1.7 trillion to the national debt."

"The proposed rule is a telling statement about the administration's priorities," he added.

Perdue said the goal of the new rule was to save money, according to the Washington Post.

As Scott notes, the administration gleefully championed the GOP tax law, where most of the benefits eventually go to the wealthiest 1% of American families. But when it comes to children living in poverty, the administration doesn't want to admit its rule would deny them a proper lunch.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.