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The Trump Administration is trying administratively what Congress was unable to do: push up to 3 million people out of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more popularly known as food stamps.

A proposed rule would limit automatic eligibility for households that receive assistance through other federal programs. U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the proposed rule would close a loophole.

In reality, it would impose a greater burden on those already struggling to make ends meet. Those who would be impacted by the proposed rule would be required to fill out more applications and produce more documents to prove eligibility for the program.

Most all of this would be a duplication of efforts because the same documentation was provided to qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits. It was eligibility through this program that qualified them for food stamps and provided a cushion that prevented a total loss of SNAP eligibility if the recipient found a part-time job.

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USDA officials said elimination of broad-based categorical eligibility would help eliminate fraud and abuse of the program. But studies have shown the type of fraud cited rarely exists.

The SNAP program also has been shown to provide a benefit to the economy overall. And the program's importance nutrition when it comes to healthy children is a cost that is well worth the benefit.

This proposed rule is shortsighted, and people should raise their voices in opposition. That can be done online at www.regulations.gov before Sept. 23.

-- Muskogee (Oklahoma) Phoenix 

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