The D.C. District Court permanently blocked the Trump administration from revoking vital SNAP eligibility for 700,000 Americans, including 20,000 Washington D.C. residents, on Oct. 19, in response to a lawsuit brought in part by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine.
A coalition of state attorneys general led by Racine and New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the Department of Agriculture in January, protesting a new rule that would have made it more difficult for states to provide food benefits for unemployed residents struggling for work. The coalition argued that the rule “violated the federal rulemaking process, contradicted law and Congress’s intent for SNAP, and lacked a sound rationale,” all of which arguments the federal court agreed with in its decision to block the rule.
Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell noted how the pandemic has shown the flaws of the rule change, as over six million Americans newly enrolled with SNAP in the first two months of the pandemic.
“Congress created the SNAP program to help Americans put food on the table during times of hardship,” Racine said in a press release. “While the pandemic continues to drive millions of Americans into unemployment — including thousands of District residents — the Trump administration is focused on cutting vital food assistance rather than helping those in greatest need.”
Local nonprofit Bread for the City was one of the plaintiffs in the case. “During these difficult times, this decision is great news for the residents we serve in D.C., and the millions of Black, brown, and other food-insecure people throughout our country, who would have been hurt by such drastic cuts to an essential program,” said Bread for the City CEO George Jones in a press release about the ruling.