An Obama-appointed judge has allowed states to continue illegally abusing the food stamp program.
Late last Sunday, Judge Beryl A. Howell issued her ruling in a lawsuit by 19 states against the Trump administration, tearing down a critically important reform implemented by the Trump administration through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The reform, implemented through the rulemaking process observed by all federal government agencies, prevented states from fabricating high unemployment rates to provide welfare to ineligible individuals. These high unemployment rates were necessary for states to avoid tracking able-bodied adults without dependents, known as ABAWDs, receiving food stamps. Under federal law, ABAWDs are required to comply with work requirements, volunteer efforts, or the pursuit of educational studies related to work, to be able to receive food stamp benefits.
For years, states have been permitted to get away with this deception due to high unemployment rates, especially during the Obama administration. In 1996, Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), which was signed into law by President Clinton. PRWORA achieved the laudable bipartisan goal of promoting work and ending dependence on the federal government. Under the Trump administration, unemployment rates fell as low as 3.5 percent in February of 2020, the lowest unemployment rate in more than 50 years. Rather than take advantage of the millions of open jobs in the country, the poverty advocacy machine used devious tricks to increase the unemployment rate in major cities across the country.