(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Today, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05), Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Congressmen C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02), John P. Sarbanes (MD-03), Anthony G. Brown (MD-04), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), David Trone (MD-06), and Kweisi Mfume (MD-07) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue expressing their serious concern about actions taken by USDA that will increase food insecurity in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
"At the start of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, the Department – rightly – took action to remove bureaucratic obstacles to hungry Americans accessing nutrition assistance,” wrote the lawmakers. “Unfortunately, it is our understanding that the Department recently informed both Maryland and the District of Columbia that it would not renew waivers allowing those jurisdictions to forgo income recertifications during the pandemic."
"The pandemic has not disappeared; instead, it is resurging,” continued the lawmakers. “As a result, local department of social service offices are not open, and their staffs are working remotely, making ‘interviews’ problematic at best. While the Department suggests that recertifications could be completed online, that is simply not realistic."
"Hunger has not disappeared; instead, recent reports indicate that 30 million Americans are food insecure,” concluded the lawmakers. “Given these facts, the decision to end the waivers will result in increased hunger and unnecessarily worsen the economic plight of thousands of residents in the region. We urge you to reverse it and extend these waivers for the duration of the pandemic."
Click here to read the full letter or see below.