October 18, 2019
Press Release
New U.S. Department of Agriculture analysis shows nearly 1 million children would lose automatic access to free school meals. Impact of proposed Trump Administration rule change is twice as devastating as previously reported

(Rochester, NY) – Today, Congressman Joe Morelle and Foodlink reiterated their strong opposition to the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) following an alarming new analysis by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The report says that as many as 982,000 children would lose automatic access to free school lunches – double the number previously predicted.

“This latest USDA report further underscores how unconscionable President Trump’s proposal truly is,” said Rep. Morelle. “Budget savings should never come at the cost of taking food out of the mouths of nearly one million children in need. I urge President Trump to rescind this proposal immediately that serves only to further harm the most vulnerable in our communities.”

“For many children living in low-income households, school meals are their primary source of nourishment,” said Foodlink President & CEO Julia Tedesco. “This proposed rule creates additional barriers to accessing healthy food, and jeopardizes the food security of thousands of children. Losing access to free school meals, paired with other potential cuts to SNAP, would be devastating for so many families across New York and the nation.”

The proposed rule change would eliminate broad-based categorical eligibility (BBCE) for SNAP benefits, leaving New York seniors, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and working families without adequate access to food assistance. Original estimates stated it would put 500,000 children in SNAP eligible households at risk of losing free school meals. However, a newly released internal analysis by the USDA shows that number will almost double to 982,000 children.

In September, Rep. Morelle joined representatives from Foodlink, The Children’s Agenda, Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative, and a number of community stakeholders in submitting public comment urging the President and the Department of Agriculture to rescind this rule.

The USDA has re-opened the public comment period on the rule for two weeks. Comments can be made here and are due November 1.