HOUSTON - The Trump administration is cutting off food stamps to more than 688,000 recipients, many of them in Texas.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue says the measure is designed to move people from "welfare to work."
The scale-back of the Supplemental Nutrition Program or SNAP is aimed at so-called "able-bodied" adults without dependents.
The new rule, set to take effect in April, would strip benefits from those between 18 and 49 years of age who fail to meet a 20 hour-per-week work requirement.
The Trump administration is projecting a savings of $5.5 billion over five years.
The move has plenty of critics including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who called the cuts counterproductive and "draconian."
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner offered a powerful and very personal response.
"I know as a kid when I had to go the store with food stamps it was not my proudest moment, okay. As my mom said, 'you will use them when you get hungry, you will use them. You may not want to go to the store with them, but until times get better, this is what we have to rely on to move forward.' So, I was one of those kids who relied on food stamps," said Turner.
Turner says he joined dozens of other mayors from across the country who signed a letter opposing the food stamp cuts.
"I am very sensitive to people who need that assistance, at that moment in time in their lives and I would hope that other people who are in a better position would be sensitive to those who are in a less fortunate position. But for the grace of God, go all of us," said Turner.
Currently, 36 million people in the U.S. receive some form of nutrition assistance representing more than 11 percent of the population.