Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is peddling misinformation again. This time, the freshman congresswoman from New York has got the facts all wrong about reforms to the federal food stamps program that aims to get able Americans working.
As my colleague Charlotte Hayes wrote about yesterday, the Trump administration has tightened regulations that states abused to waive work requirements for working-age adults who have no disability or children so that they could continue receiving food stamps (through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP).
Now, states can only waive work requirements if they have an unemployment rate above 6 percent rather than manipulating the rules to wave millions of people.
This reform encourages hundreds of thousands or more of Americans who are not working despite this excellent economy to join the labor force and perhaps snag one of the 7 million open positions in order to keep receiving food stamp benefits.
Representative Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in response to the announcement:
@AOC: “My family relied on food stamps (EBT) when my dad died at 48. I was a student. If this happened then, we might’ve just starved. Now, many people will,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It’s shameful how the GOP works overtime to create freebies for the rich while dissolving lifelines of those who need it most.”
Twitter was quick to call her out for being incorrect – and rightly so.
Here’s what AOC got wrong about the new food stamp reforms:
- This doesn’t apply to moms and dads with kids. It only applies to adults without minors. Her mother would have continued receiving benefits if she claimed AOC as a dependent.
- This doesn’t apply to a lot of food stamp recipients: elderly, disabled, pregnant women, or children. She assumes that many people will starve. If they fall into any of these categories that simply isn’t true. They would continue to receive their food assistance uninterrupted.
- Able, childless adults who work part-time keep their food stamps. To avoid losing the benefits, able-bodied, working-age adults (ABAWDS) only need to work or train in a work program for at least 20 hours a week for longer than 3 months during any three-year period.
This is a reasonable and targeted reform.
An estimated 3 million adults between the ages of 18-49 without a disability or dependents are on food stamps. Yet, reportedly nearly 75-percent of them are not working.
We are expecting another strong jobs report today. With unemployment hovering new historic lows of about 3.6 percent, this is the best time to get every American who can work to work.
They will gain the experience and skills that can help them secure their independence and climb the ladder of opportunity.
This effort also preserves our social safety net is reserved for truly needy Americans.
AOC, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and those on the left claiming that this reform will starve millions of people are simply wrong.
It’s compassionate to not just give a man a fish but it’s even more compassionate to teach him to fish so he can feed himself and his family for the rest of their lives.