Chairman Scott to Secretary Perdue: Release Internal Estimates Showing Impact of Proposed SNAP Changes on Free School Meals

July 29, 2019
Press Release
In letter to Secretary Perdue, Chairman Scott sounds alarm that USDA is concealing data showing proposed changes to SNAP eligibility would jeopardize school meals for more than 500,000 low-income children

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue raising concerns that the Department is concealing internal estimates regarding the impact of its proposed changes to eligibility for food assistance. The letter asks USDA to immediately make public its estimate that more than 500,000 low-income students would lose automatic eligibility for free school meals under its proposed Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The administration’s proposed rule – released July 23 – would make changes that restrict SNAP eligibility, which is used to calculate categorical eligibility for free and reduced school meals.

“In a phone briefing with House Committee on Education and Labor staff on July 22, 2019, your staff stated that the Department’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) estimates that the proposed rule will result in more than 500,000 children losing their automatic eligibility for free school meals,” Chairman Scott wrote. “However, when the rule was published in the Federal Register, the Regulatory Impact Analysis did not include discussion of the rule’s impact on free school meal eligibility.”

Under an Obama-era executive order that is still in effect, the administration is required to provide “for both proposed and final rules, timely online access to the rulemaking docket on regulations.gov, including relevant scientific and technical findings.”

In the letter, Chairman Scott asked Secretary Perdue to amend the Regulatory Impact Analysis to include the impact on school meal eligibility, and to restart the public comment period, which is currently underway.

“The effect on school meal eligibility represents an important technical finding that must be made public so that stakeholders have the opportunity to comment on all aspects of the rule’s impact,” wrote Chairman Scott.

The full text of the letter is here.  

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