Democrats: Trump plan could jeopardize 500,000 children's free school meals

A leading House Democrat has voiced displeasure with the Trump administration’s plan to cut food stamps for millions of people, pointing out that the plan could cost more than 500,000 children their eligibility to receive free school lunches.

After the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its plan last week to restrict the eligibility for food stamps, impacting an estimated 3.1 million Americans, Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottDeVos issues new rule ordering more coronavirus relief to private schools Am I racist? The coronavirus crisis has cut the child care sector MORE (D-Va.) sent a letter to the department making it aware that 500,000 children could lose their free lunches, according to NBC News.


Scott, in his letter, highlighted the USDA’s own estimate that more than 500,000 children would lose automatic eligibility for free school meals under the proposal.

Children whose parents already receive food stamps become automatically enrolled in a federal program that provides free breakfast and lunch at public schools.

As chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Scott requested that the USDA revise the proposed rule to reflect its impact on the school meal program. Additionally, Scott wants to know why the USDA did not initially include the estimates of how many children would be impacted.

Scott alleged the USDA violated federal requirements to include “relevant scientific and technical findings” by leaving out its estimate of impacted children.

The Hill has reached out to the USDA for comment.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senior Interior official contacted former employer, violating ethics pledge: watchdog | Ag secretary orders environmental rollbacks for Forest Service | Senate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Ag secretary orders environmental rollbacks for Forest Service Justice Department investigating meat price increases: report MORElast week in announcing the proposed rule that would end automatic Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility for people who already get federal and state aid, said it was aimed at “preventing abuse of a critical safety net system.”

“Some states are taking advantage of loopholes that allow people to receive the SNAP benefits who would otherwise not qualify and for which they are not entitled,” Perdue said in a statement last week.