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House Passes Farm Bill – SNAP Update


On June 21, the House narrowly passed the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), by a vote of 213 – 211. The bill was opposed by Democrats because of employment and work eligibility training requirements for SNAP beneficiaries. The week prior (June 13), the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry passed the bipartisan Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the Farm Bill, by a vote of 20-1. The bill would reauthorize farm and nutrition programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), for the next five years through FY 2023.

Unlike the House bill, the Senate bill had broad bipartisan support and did not include additional work requirements for SNAP recipients. SNAP and other food assistance programs in the bill are mostly unchanged. Existing SNAP work requirements are somewhat revised and some additional funding for education and training was added. The controversial changes proposed by the House Agriculture Committee to work and eligibility requirements are not included in the Senate draft. Additionally, there are not any controversial revisions that would reduce benefits to participating households or reduce participation.

Although the Senate bill does not seek new work requirements or significant changes to eligibility standards, it is focused instead on making administrative changes aimed toward combating fraud. Additionally, the legislation would prohibit processing fees, interchange fees and routing fees from all EBT transactions which would expire in 2022. Finally, the legislation would task the USDA to establish a retailer incentives program for retailers seeking to offer incentives for SNAP purchases of foods that are within the dietary guidelines. Please note that PMAA is currently working with Senate leadership and the Agriculture Committee to include a reauthorization of the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) in the farm bill. We will have more details later this summer.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has indicated that the Senate may bring the farm bill to the floor for a vote before the July 4 recess. A House-Senate Conference Committee will likely follow.

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