House panel votes to block two Trump rules restricting SNAP access

The Trump administration would be barred from implementing two rules that would end SNAP benefits for an estimated 700,000 people during the coronavirus pandemic under a USDA-FDA funding bill approved by a Democratic-controlled House subcommittee on Monday. The provisions on SNAP rules may be …

Pandemic rages, but USDA’s food box program may end in eight weeks

As it announced contracts for up to $1.47 billion to carry the Farmers to Families Food Box initiative through July and August, the USDA also said the program could end on Sept. 1, or soon afterward, as funding for the food giveaway program runs out. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has highlighted the Food Box as a boon to hungry Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, while the White House opposed a temporary expansion of food-stamp benefits.(No paywall)

A grassroots push for higher SNAP benefits

Anti-hunger activists hope one-on-one conversations with senators on their home territory over the next couple of weeks will overcome opposition to a 15-percent increase in SNAP benefits during the coronavirus pandemic. Republican senators, backed by the White House, blocked attempts earlier …

SNAP rolls rose as coronavirus spread across U.S.

Food stamp enrollment climbed by 479,000 people, or 1.3 percent, in March, in the early days of combating the novel coronavirus and the economic slowdown that accompanied it, said the USDA. Experts have said the pandemic could result in the highest SNAP participation ever, topping the record of 47.6 million during fiscal 2013 during the slow recovery from the Great Recession.(No paywall)

Boost SNAP benefits by 15 percent, groups ask Senate

An increase in SNAP benefits "must be part of an effective, comprehensive response to Covid-19," said 2,500 anti-hunger, medical, religious, labor, farm, and consumer groups in a letter to Senate leaders. Republican senators, who blocked recent proposals by House Democrats for higher SNAP benefits, are expected to decide soon whether to draft a new coronavirus relief bill. (No paywall)

Survey: Unrelenting food insecurity during pandemic

One in five US households say they often or sometimes run out of food, a persistently elevated level of food insecurity as the nation faces its fourth month of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Covid Impact Survey. "Despite some public benefits in place, this is still very high," said Nick Hart, president of the Data Foundation, which launched the survey.(No paywall)

Farmers markets fought to stay open during the pandemic. Now many can’t make ends meet.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers market advocates successfully argued for markets across the country to continue operating as essential businesses. Yet as the pandemic stretches into its third month, many markets face existential budget shortfalls as the public health emergency keeps shoppers home and raises their operating costs.(No paywall)

Half of SNAP recipients can buy groceries online

Online SNAP purchasing has seen phenomenal growth during the coronavirus pandemic as a way to reduce participants' exposure to the disease. With the Wednesday addition of 13 states to the program, the USDA has now approved proposals from 36 states and the District of Columbia to make online purchasing available. (No paywall)

House votes to double coronavirus payments to agriculture

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)

House coronavirus bill boosts SNAP, other public nutrition programs

The $3 trillion coronavirus bill backed by House Democrats would increase SNAP benefits by 15 percent and put $4 billion into other public nutrition programs, according to summaries released by the House Appropriations Committee. Democratic leaders announced the bill on Tuesday and said the …