December 5, 2019
At the direction of President Donald J. Trump, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a final rule to move more able-bodied recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) towards self-sufficiency and into employment. The rule restores the system to what Congress intended: assistance through difficult times, not a way of life.
“Americans are generous people who believe it is their responsibility to help their fellow citizens when they encounter a difficult stretch. 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,” said Secretary Perdue. “Now, in the midst of the strongest economy in a generation, we need everyone who can work, to work. This rule lays the groundwork for the expectation that able-bodied Americans re-enter the workforce where there are currently more job openings than people to fill them.”
Secretary Perdue elaborated on these ideals in an op-ed published in the Arizona Daily Star: Throughout my travels across this great country, I’ve seen the values that truly unite us — values we’ve embodied in our USDA motto to “Do right and feed everyone.” With hard work and dedication, you can accomplish great things. That’s the American dream. And when times are tough, we pull together to solve problems, and we look out for each other, knowing that next time, we may be the one who needs a helping hand.
Our SNAP program should be structured to work with our changing economy, not be stuck in the past. This is why I made it a top priority to ensure people have the tools they need to move away from SNAP dependency and back toward self-sufficiency. At USDA we are working to restore the original intent of SNAP — one that provides a safety net for those in need but encourages accountability and self-sufficiency.
SNAP provides essential benefits to ensure folks facing the loss of a job or other difficult circumstances can put food on the table. But just as important, it provides connections to employment and training in the clear expectation that folks will seek to move beyond those benefits to work and independence. . . .
Americans are an exceptional people. We are uniquely independent, but we are also a giving people, willing to help our neighbor in their times of need. Any one of us can face tough times, and as a community we come together to help others. At the same time, we expect those we assist to in turn take responsibility for themselves. 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.
For more information, including the history of the SNAP program, read the USDA press release.