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Judge strikes down Trump effort to slash food stamps for 700,000 Americans

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mother and child shopping at Whole Foods
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A federal judge in Washington, D.C. late Sunday struck down the Trump administration’s proposed changes to the SNAP benefits program, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of people from losing badly-needed federal food assistance.

U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl Howell issued a scathing ruling, denouncing President Donald Trump and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who she said have been “icily silent about how many [adults] would have been denied SNAP benefits had the changes sought … been in effect while the pandemic rapidly spread across the country.”

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New York Attorney General Letitia James, who was among more than a dozen state attorneys general who joined the District of Columbia in suing the administration over the changes, called Howell’s ruling “a major victory for common sense and basic human decency in our nation.”

The USDA proposed the changes months before the coronavirus pandemic began. They were initially set to go into effect in April, but Howell issued an injunction in March, as the president declared a state of emergency, ordering the administration to delay the changes. Perdue later appealed Howell’s order, potentially allowing the new rules to go into effect despite a pandemic that has left millions unemployed.

Under existing SNAP benefits rules, states are able to waive work requirements for SNAP benefits for areas with unemployment rates as low as 2.5%. Perdue and Trump moved to tighten the criteria for waiving the requirements by raising the minimum rate to 6%.

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The change could have left nearly 700,000 people without the benefit, the Washington Post reported Sunday.

Tamar Haspel, a Post food policy columnist, tweeted that the proposal, and the administration’s attempt to ensure it could go into effect during the public health and economic crisis, was in the running for Trump’s “Vilest Policy Ever.”

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The pandemic, Howell said in her ruling, exposed how unworkable the administration’s proposed changes were, with the number of Americans relying on SNAP benefits growing by 17%, or six million enrollees, and unemployment rates quadrupling.

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Perdue and Trump displayed an “utter failure to address the issue” of how millions would be affected by new work requirements during the crisis, Howell said, rendering their changes “arbitrary and capricious.”

With the ruling handed down two weeks before Nov. 3, the last day Americans can vote in the presidential election, journalist Matt Taibbi wrote that it may serve as a reminder of the president’s priorities.

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“Trump: yes to Space Force, no to Food Stamps,” Taibbi tweeted.


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Ivanka Trump wants to be the ‘first female president’ — but there’s one major obstacle

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Ivanka Trump is harboring political ambitions after she leaves the White House after her father's election loss.

It's not clear where President Donald Trump's eldest daughter will live, along with her husband and fellow White House adviser Jared Kushner, but their former friends, colleagues and associates believe Ivanka Trump will try to build up her influence in the Republican Party, reported the Washington Post.

“I think she’d want to be the [first] female president,” said Marissa Velez Kraxberger, a film producer who worked for Ivanka for two years at her now-defunct company. “I don’t think she’s actually ever had any interest in fashion but everything was an angle to gain more power in whatever possible way.”

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2020 Election

GOP senator knows Trump lost but thinks it would be ‘political suicide’ to admit it: report

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Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is still spouting conspiracy theories about the election being "stolen" from President Donald Trump -- but according to one former Wisconsin Republican official, Johnson understands that Trump lost.

Mark Becker, the former Chairman of the Brown County Republican Party, writes at The Bulwark that he had a conversation with Johnson after the election in which the senator acknowledged Trump's defeat.

However, Johnson said that he was loath to admit it publicly because of the strong support the president had received from Wisconsin GOP voters, despite the fact that the president narrowly lost the state this year.

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‘Dumbest senator ever’: Morning Joe mocks Republican Ron Johnson

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough mocked Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) for demanding proof of something that doesn't exist.

Attorney General William Barr announced the Department of Justice had found no evidence of voter fraud, as President Donald Trump has claimed, and Johnson called on Barr to "show everybody" the proof that the election had not been stolen.

"The man Guinness Book of World Records has called the dumbest senator to ever be sworn in in this constitutional republic," Scarborough said. "I'm speaking, of course, of Ron Johnson, who said that William Barr must show his evidence that he has no evidence."

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