Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh has joined 13 other states in a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture that seeks to block a Trump administration rule that would cut off food stamp benefits to nearly 700,000 people nationwide, Frosh’s office announced Thursday.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Before the rule, states could obtain waivers to suspend the three-month limit on food stamps for able-bodied adults without dependents in areas where employment opportunities were few.
The new rule, published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Dec. 5, 2019, would strip states of their ability to acquire such waivers.
Frosh called the rule “inhumane” as well as “self-destructive,” saying Maryland farmers benefit from growing food used by food stamp recipients.
“It’s also not good policy,” Frosh said in an interview. “What do you want people to do, starve in the streets? Not take care of children? There may be a zillion reasons someone isn’t working, can’t work, but still needs food assistance. It’s inhumane to just say, ‘I’m sorry, you’re an adult and single, so we’re not going to let you eat.’”
More than 27,000 Marylanders currently receiving food stamps would be affected by the rule, according to the lawsuit. Thirteen Maryland jurisdictions currently have a waiver on food stamp restrictions, which would expire on March 31 under the new Trump administration rule, the lawsuit states.
According to Frosh’s announcement, Congress previously agreed that individual states are qualified to assess whether certain areas needed a waiver on the three-month limit for food stamps.