August 1, 2019 4:30 a.m.
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative Peter DeFazio, along with the rest of the Democratic members of the Oregon congressional delegation, pushed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to immediately withdraw the proposed rule that they say would take food assistance away from 3 million Americans
Merkley is the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. It oversees the USDA, which runs the SNAP program nationwide. A release from the democratic members of the delegation, said the agency’s proposed rule would change the way supplemental food benefits are determined, reducing the number of people who are eligible. Agency leadership has said the new rule would “make things fair” and is needed to improve compliance and eligibility consistency, according to the release.
In a letter the group wrote, they said they are “especially concerned about the number of Oregon children – many of whom receive their only meal of the day at school – who will lose their access to free school meals if they are not automatically certified for school meals because of their SNAP participation”.
The letter was sent to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. A link to the letter is posted here: https://www.merkley.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/USDA%20Letter%20SNAP%20Categorical%20Eligibility.pdf