U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04), a member of the House Agriculture Committee, overseeing the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, said Friday he supports new federal food stamp rules formalized by U.S. Republican President Donald Trump.
“In this outstanding economy, hopeful Americans are re-joining the labor force, securing new, good-paying jobs. There are millions available, and many career paths, for those able to work,” DesJarlais said in a statement.
“The Trump Administration’s changes to the SNAP program will help to foster a culture of achievement and success, while ensuring citizens with dependents or disabilities continue to receive assistance. Waivers for areas with above-average unemployment are still generous, as are education and training programs. Criticism of this important change is off-base. The potential benefits are enormous.”
On Friday the U.S. Labor Department released its monthly jobs report, showing strong gains in November, upward revisions for prior months, continued wage growth, the highest labor force participation rate since 2013, and lowest unemployment rate since 1969.
Despite 7 million jobs available nationwide, and fewer Americans requiring food stamps, the total number of recipients, which nearly doubled under the Obama Administration to over 47 million, has not declined commensurate with improved economic numbers, DesJarlais said.
“The Trump Administration’s changes to SNAP, in addition to helping more recipients to secure employment, will also save taxpayers who fund the program almost $13 billion over the next 10 years,” according to DesJarlais’ press release.
As The Tennessee Star reported this week, nearly 700,000 Americans will lose their access to food stamps.
Currently, people aged between 18 and 49 who are childless and not disabled are required to work at least 20 hours a week for more than three months over a 36-hour period to qualify for food stamps.
States have previously been able to create waivers for people in high unemployment areas but the new Department of Agriculture rules removes that discretion and restricts waivers to areas that have unemployment rates of 6 percent or higher.
The current national unemployment rate is 3.5 percent.
The change, which takes effect on April 1 of next year, does not apply to children and their parents, those over 50 (including the elderly), those with a disability or pregnant women.
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