Senate Republicans will ignore the "unserious" $3-trillion coronavirus relief bill passed along party lines by the House in favor of steps such as liability shields for employers, said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The House bill included $16.5 billion for cash payments to farmers and ranchers, double the amount in the package now awaiting approval by the White House budget office.(No paywall)
The USDA has issued waivers to 43 states that make it easier for schools to provide food to low-income children who lost access to free or reduced-price meals due to coronarvirus closures, said a spokesman on Wednesday. An anti-hunger group called for more flexible treatment and speedy handling of the burgeoning number of applications for food stamps. (No paywall)
Rebuffed in negotiations on the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that she will try again to raise SNAP benefits when Congress writes its next coronavirus bill. The House was scheduled to vote on the $2 trillion bill today. "I anticipate, I am certain, we will have a strong bipartisan vote," said Pelosi. (No paywall)
Delayed for weeks by the partial federal shutdown, the Trump administration published its proposal to restrict states from allowing able-bodied adults to collect SNAP benefits for more than 90 days if they are not working at least 20 hours a week. The Federal Register notice ignited a campaign to block the proposal, which opponents said is contrary to the 2018 food and farm law.
Two of the major public nutrition programs, SNAP and WIC, could run out of money if the partial government shutdown persists into February and beyond, affecting millions of people. While the USDA says funding is assured for this month, it is not as clear about what to expect in the future.
On Thursday, budget director Mick Mulvaney unveiled the federal reorganization plan that President Trump set in motion in his second month in office. Under the proposal, SNAP and WIC would be moved from the USDA to a new agency, the Department of Health and Public Welfare.
A Trump administration plan to reorganize the federal government would include consolidating food stamps, now run by the USDA, and other social safety net programs at the Department of Health and Human Services, said Politico.
In a quiet subcommittee vote, Congress declined on Wednesday to take delivery of “America’s Harvest Box,” the Trump administration’s headline-grabbing idea of sending a monthly box of nonperishable foods to SNAP recipients.
In the third installment of a five-part investigation into SNAP, Harvest Public Media explores how work requirements, the recertification process, and shame can prevent people with mental illness from accessing crucial nutrition services.