Boris Johnson Becomes Prime Minister

Grind for July 25th
“Trouble knocked at the door, but, hearing laughter, hurried away.”
– Benjamin Franklin


The Headline

Boris Johnson wins UK election

The Grind

Conservative Party Members on Tuesday elected Boris Johnson to replace outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May. On Wednesday, he became Prime Minister.

As head of the Conservative Party, Johnson will run a minority government with help from the Northern Irish Party.

“We know the mantra of the campaign that has just gone by, it is deliver Brexit, unite the country, and defeat Jeremy Corbyn, and that is what we are going to do,” said Johnson, who won the election with nearly two-thirds of the vote.

The Details

Johnson, a Trump ally, assumes leadership as the UK continues to struggle with its decision to leave the EU and how best to complete the divorce.

Despite more than two years of negotiations, May and the EU failed to produce a proposal on which lawmakers could agree.

Johnson, who led the “Vote Leave” campaign, believes he can get the EU to renegotiate. If not, he will leave the bloc on the scheduled date of October 31st with or without an exit deal (the original exit date had been scheduled for March 28th).

Economists have warned that a no-deal Brexit could plunge the UK into a recession and several Conservatives have already refused to serve under Johnson based on his promise to leave the block no matter what.

The British pound dropped 0.3% on Tuesday.

Boris Johnson served as MP for Henly for 8 years before taking a break from Parliament to serve as Mayor of London (2008-2016). He was elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in 2015.

Johnson was appointed Foreign Secretary in 2016. He resigned from the position in July 2018 over disagreements related to Brexit.

In July 2019, he became leader of the Conservative Party.


The Headline

Under proposed changes, 3.1 million Americans could lose SNAP benefits

The Grind

The Trump Administration on Tuesday unveiled new regulations that are expected to remove 3.1 million Americans from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The new rules are designed to prevent states from automatically enrolling participants who earn more than 130% of the federal poverty level.

At least 40 states currently use broad-based categorical eligibility to enroll people who qualify for SNAP under alternative criteria; this option allows states to eliminate asset tests and increase income thresholds.

For years, Republicans have complained about this “loophole” that permits people with higher incomes to receive federal assistance.

“For too long, this loophole has been used to effectively bypass important eligibility requirements,” argues US Sec. of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We are changing the rules, preventing abuse of a critical safety net system, so those who need food assistance the most are the only ones who will receive it.”

The change could save taxpayers up to $2.5 billion annually.

“This proposal will save money and preserve the integrity of the program,” adds Perdue. “SNAP should be a temporary safety net.”

The Details

Critics insist the move is designed to enable increased federal spending at the expense of our most vulnerable population.

“This rule would take food away from families, prevent children from getting school meals, and make it harder for states to administer food assistance,” complains Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow.

But the decision comes at a time of historically-low unemployment, when fewer Americans depend on federal assistance.

SNAP participation is at a 10-year low, with roughly 36 million Americans receiving food stamps (down from 38.5 million in 2018). The average monthly benefit is $121 per person.

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