70 mayors sign letter opposing Trump proposal that would restrict access to food stamps

70 mayors sign letter opposing Trump proposal that would restrict access to food stamps

Seventy mayors from around the nation on Wednesday came out in "strong opposition" to a Trump administration proposal that could slash food stamp benefits for about 3 million people. 

“As Mayors, we serve as the CEOs of the nation’s cities; and remain most concerned about any proposal that will reduce improvements to the health of our residents, weaken nutrition programs, deteriorate advances to healthy food access, and spur declines in local and regional economies," the U.S. Conference of Mayors says in a letter sent to the Department of Agriculture.

"SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] remains one of our nations’ key resources in the fight against hunger and is particularly important to vulnerable populations in our cities.”

The Trump administration last month issued a proposal that would severely curb the amount of individuals eligible for food stamps. The proposed rule would do so by curtailing the "broad-based categorical eligibility," a program that enables somewhat-higher-income Americans to still take part in SNAP. 

The rule would also require people who get benefits through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to pass an income review that determines whether they’re eligible for SNAP. TANF is a federal program that offers assistance to families living in poverty due to job loss. 

The group of mayors write that these changes would "escalate food insecurity and hunger for an estimated 3.1 million individuals — including children, seniors, and people with disabilities in our states, regions and cities nationwide."

"SNAP remains one of our nations’ key resources in the fight against hunger and is particularly important to vulnerable populations in our cities," the mayors write. 

Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueDemocrat: Control of Senate 'now rests in the state of Georgia' Chinese trade negotiators cut US trip short Lawmakers run into major speed bumps on spending bills MORE defended the proposal last month as an effort to stop some states from taking advantage of loopholes. He specifically cited a loophole in which individuals receiving minimal TANF can automatically become eligible for SNAP.

“For too long, this loophole has been used to effectively bypass important eligibility guidelines. Too often, states have misused this flexibility without restraint,” Perdue said in a press release.

The proposal would save $2.5 billion per year annually, ABC News reported.