Legislative Activity

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

On Thursday, May 12, the House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing to examine issues some retailers face while navigating SNAP requirements. During the first 16 months of the 114th Congress, the House Agriculture Committee, along with its Subcommittee on Nutrition, held 14 hearings that focused on SNAP. Seven of those hearings have specifically been part of the committee’s “Past, Present, and Future of SNAP” campaign, which is intended to evaluate the program from top to bottom. This week’s hearing will for the first time shift focus from issues SNAP recipients face to those of retailers. On April 19, the House Appropriations Committee approved the agriculture appropriations bill. During the bill’s markup, an amendment offered by Representative Steven Palazzo (R-MS) that would prohibit the United States Department of Agriculture from using funds to require SNAP-participating convenience stores and other retailers to stock more varieties of foods in order to receive program payments was adopted by voice vote. Proponents of the new requirements argue that more food varieties would give SNAP participants access to a healthier selection of products while opponents maintain that the additional requirements could run small retailers out of business. This topic will likely be discussed at this week’s hearing, and it will undoubtedly remain a contentious issue as the appropriations process continues to unfold.

This Week’s Hearings:

Thursday, May 12: The House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Past, Present, and Future of SNAP: The Retailer Perspective.”