The proposal, issued in 2019, would have tightened the rules governing who qualifies for food stamps. It would have curtailed so-called broad-based categorical eligibility, which makes it easier for Americans with somewhat higher incomes and more savings to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the formal name for food stamps. Republicans have long argued that this expanded eligibility option is a “loophole” that permits those with higher incomes and assets to get public assistance.
A separate US Department of Agriculture report released this week showed that reinstating work requirements for certain food stamp recipients after the Great Recession did not increase their employment or annual earnings. Able-bodied adults without dependents are typically limited to three months of food stamps in any 36-month period unless they work or participate in certain activities — though that mandate has been waived during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Biden administration has pushed to expand access to and generosity of food stamps, saying the safety net program is critical to helping struggling Americans get through the pandemic. Hunger had spiked at the start of the outbreak, though it has fallen since then.