Gov. Tim Walz called President Donald Trump “a Grinch” while discussing new federal food stamp rules during a Monday event.
Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan volunteered at the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center food shelf and held a roundtable discussion on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), informally known as food stamps.
“Government can be a powerful force for good, but government dependency has never been the American dream. We need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand but not allowing it to become an indefinitely giving hand,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said when announcing the new rules.
Perdue said the goal of the new rule is to help move Americans “from welfare to work.” The rule changes are set to take effect in April and will cut an estimated 688,000 Americans from SNAP, including an estimated 30,000 Minnesotans.
“If you wanted to be painted as a Grinch, do this right before Christmas,” Gov. Walz told reporters during his Monday event.
The Trump administration announced the final rules in early December. They’re scheduled to take effect in April.
“If you wanted to be painted as a Grinch, do this right before Christmas,” Walz says.
— Theo Keith (@TheoKeith) December 23, 2019
Walz sent a letter to Secretary Perdue Monday calling on him to “immediately withdraw” the new rule, according to a press release from his office.
“This critical program provides food to thousands of Minnesotans – the majority of whom are children, seniors, and people living with disabilities. Let me be clear: These misguided policy changes will increase hunger across Minnesota,” Walz writes in his letter.
The governor said he will “explore every opportunity to stand up against” Perdue’s attacks on “fundamental programs that serve our Minnesota families.”
“Having spent 20 years in the classroom, I see these cuts through the lens of a high school teacher. I taught students experiencing hunger,” says the letter. “And I will tell you: a child cannot learn when they are hungry. Anti-hunger programs like SNAP are critical to student success and lay an essential foundation for building a competitive economy and next-generation workforce. Ensuring that families in need can access these programs is not only a moral imperative, it’s an economic one.”
Walz’s office said “food insecurity” is a top priority of his administration, noting that one in 12 Minnesota families are “food insecure.”
“Food insecurity is continually highlighted by parents, educators, child advocates and communities as a serious barrier impacting opportunity for children in our state,” Flanagan said in a statement. “SNAP provides basic, critical support for thousands of children in this state, and it is our job to advocate for the thousands of families who rely on assistance to make it through hard times. As a kid, my family relied on SNAP. It is a critical program that literally keeps food in the bellies of Minnesotans.”
Gov. Walz’s full letter can be read here.
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