Oregon joins lawsuit against unfair ABAWD rule change

by Etta O’Donnell-King

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum joined 14 other Attorneys General in a lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s rule to impose harsh time limits for an additional 700,000 people in the United States, including 19,000 Oregonians. The rule is scheduled to take effect April 1, and our hope is this lawsuit will block it.

Trump’s proposed rule to put additional time limits on food assistance isn’t just cruel and counterproductive, but it’s also illegal. This undermines the intention of the waiver system established in the original 1996 bill on this issue, which has been considered and reconsidered for decades by Congress, most recently in 2018. The President can’t just override these decisions because he doesn’t like them.

This rule has a real, tangible impact. It will make a difference for thousands of Oregonians and has a radiating effect. SNAP creates a better life for everyone, regardless of whether they are receiving benefits or not. SNAP benefits effectively contribute to state economies, lower healthcare costs and, most importantly, make sure that people do not have to choose between food and other necessities, like housing. As USDA recognizes in the rule, these impacts will be felt most among lower-income communities of color.

We want to reiterate this basic fact: taking away food from our communities hurts us all. We thank the Oregon Attorney General for standing up for Oregonians who live in places with high unemployment and face challenges finding full-time work. The health and well-being of our communities is at stake.

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