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Last Friday, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) closed the extended public comment period for their proposal to reform broad-based categorical eligibility for food stamps. The proposal would close a loophole that allowed thousands of Americans who did not qualify for food stamps to be eligible for benefits regardless.
The broad-based categorical eligibility (BBCE) loophole allows anyone to automatically qualify for food stamps if they receive benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) welfare program. However, the definition of "benefits" under this loophole is so broad that it encompasses something as small as having received a brochure for the program. This allows millionaires to potentially leach off of our welfare system and drain taxpayer dollars.
This is why FreedomWorks Foundation's Regulatory Action Center (RAC) drove activist comments in support of the elimination of this loophole. Over 7,500 conservative and libertarian activists chimed in to echo that same sentiment: that the BBCE loophole is wasteful and harmful to taxpayers.
These Democrats and moderate Republicans are claiming that nearly one million underprivileged school children will lose out on free school lunches because of the change. This is categorically false. These children will no longer qualify for the lunch program because of BBCE, but data shows that 96.9 percent of these children will still be eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, even after the proposal is implemented.
This is a scare tactic aimed at trying to stop the regulatory reforms being initiated by the Trump administration. Policy makers at the USDA must reject this fear-mongering and proceed ahead with this reform that will save taxpayers millions of dollars.