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Photo: Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images

A group of 14 states along with Washington, D.C., and New York City filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the Agriculture Department over a plan to increase work requirements for food stamp recipients, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The stricter rule “eliminates State discretion and criteria” and will end “essential food assistance for benefits recipients who live in areas with insufficient jobs.” It intends to cut benefits for 688,000–850,000 unemployed people, the Post reports, and states' attorneys general who are backing the lawsuit argue the tightened SNAP requirements are unlawful.

Details: The new rule, finalized in December, is the first of three planned efforts to limit the federal food safety net and applies to able-bodied adults without children or dependents. The changes are expected to go through in April.

  • USDA expects the changes to save nearly $5.5 billion over five years.
  • Two other proposed rule changes seek to "cap deductions for utility allowance and to limit access to [food stamp benefits] for working poor families," the Post notes. Neither of the two outstanding rules have been finalized yet.

Go deeper: Seniors are increasingly going hungry

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
5 mins ago - World

Mixed response in Europe to Biden's vaccine patents bombshell

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration surprised the world last night by coming out in favor of waiving patents for coronavirus vaccines — but Europe is divided on the issue.

What they're saying: European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen said Brussels would be willing to discuss it; French President Emmanuel Macron said he backed the U.S. position, but a German government spokesman said the proposal would cause "severe complications" for vaccine production.

Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

  1. Health: CDC expects new COVID surge starting this month — Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low
  2. Politics: Federal judge overturns CDC's eviction moratorium — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants — U.S. will support waiving vaccine patents — Education secretary: All schools expected to be fully in-person this fall
  4. Economy: U.S. may have added more than 2 million jobs in April — A surge in youth unemployment.
  5. World: True COVID-19 death toll is double the official numbers, study finds — Countries testing J&J vaccine doses after contamination at Baltimore plant — Germany opposes Biden's support for waiving vaccine patents
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Dave Lawler, author of World
28 mins ago - World

True COVID-19 death toll is double the official numbers, study finds

Expand chart
Data: IHME; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

There have been twice as many deaths from COVID-19 around the world as have been reported, according to the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), which analyzed excess mortality and other factors.

The big picture: The U.S. has undercounted by over 300,000 deaths, while the death tolls in India and Mexico — second and third on the list, respectively — are nearly three times the official numbers, according to the analysis.