President Donald Trump's executive order adding work requirements for able-bodied food stamp recipients drew criticism from many in Ohio.
“It’s despicable that President Trump would pull the rug out from under hungry Americans right before the holidays — even after Congress made clear in the farm bill that these families shouldn’t be forced to jump through additional bureaucratic hoops to put food on the table,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D–Ohio, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a member of the farm bill conference committee.
“If President Trump really wants to save taxpayer money, he should roll back the giveaways to Wall Street and millionaires in his tax law.”
Rep. Marcia Fudge, D–Cleveland, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, said the administration’s move would effectively circumvent Congress’ will and the law of the land “in cruel, deceitful, and underhanded ways to target the poor.”
“The administration couldn’t get policies denying food assistance in the farm bill,” she said. “So they are pursuing these harmful changes on their own, contrary to the will of the elected Congress. This isn’t about helping hard working men and women find employment. This is about taking food away from people struggling to find steady, good paying jobs and feeding their families.”
But Rep. Warren Davidson, a Troy Republican who advocates more stringent work requirements, said stiffening the rules “gives the millions of able-bodied adults who are trapped in government dependency a helping hand transitioning back into full-time employment.”
“Every dollar we spend on able–bodied, working–age adults takes resources away from the truly needy and other important programs,” he said.
For its part, the administration argued the proposed rule aims to restore the system to its original intent as a program to help during difficult times, not through the entirety of a person’s life.
“Long-term reliance on government assistance has never been part of the American dream,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “As we make benefits available to those who truly need them, we must also encourage participants to take proactive steps toward self–sufficiency."
Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, said, "Once again, the Trump administration is attempting to circumvent the will of Congress.
“Taking essential benefits like food assistance away from those who are unemployed or struggling to piece together temporary, contingent jobs wouldn’t address the inequities in the labor market or the challenges that so many workers face. It would merely increase hunger and drive childless adults coping with everything from a lack of transportation, a lack of a high school diploma or undiagnosed physical or mental illnesses further into the shadows."