Congresswoman Barbara Lee Statement on House Victory in Court Case for Food Assistance

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration, issued the following statement after the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in the case of District of Columbia, et al. v. U.S. Department of Agriculture to block implementation of the Trump Administration’s rule that strips Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits away from millions by subjecting them to time limits on benefit eligibility and weakens states’ ability to target assistance in high-unemployment areas: 

“This court ruling confirms that the Trump administration’s efforts to take crucial food assistance away from millions in the middle of a global health and economic crisis is cruel, unlawful, and unjust. This win in the courts is a major victory for the humanity and the well-being of struggling families across America. 

“We are facing one of the most challenging times in our history—unemployment rates are skyrocketing, and now reports show that more than eight million families have fallen into poverty since May. For decades, SNAP has been a lifeline in the fight against hunger and a proven pathway out of poverty for millions of vulnerable children, families, communities of color, the LGBTQ community, veterans and people with disabilities. 

“As the pandemic continues to devastate communities, benefits from our first COVID relief package expire and up to 17 million children now live in a food-insecure household, protecting SNAP is now more than ever a matter of life-and-death.  SNAP is also one of the most effective and immediate forms of economic stimulus – injecting $1.79 into the economy for every dollar in benefits and helping lower health care costs by nearly $1,400 per person.

“I’m proud to have been fighting these rules every step of the way, including in my role on the Appropriations Committee, where we included language to block funding for their implementation of this rule. It is simply wrong to deny struggling families access to nutrition assistance in a time of great need. We welcome this timely and critical victory and will continue to fight in Congress and in the Courts for vulnerable communities, including expanding SNAP in our Heroes Act by increasing the maximum SNAP benefit by 15 percent, nearly doubling the minimum benefit to $30 and strengthening assistance to states and local communities.  It’s critical that we continue to help struggling families during this difficult time.”