Nutrition assistance expands as pandemic impact deepens

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)

Pelosi backs higher SNAP benefits for next coronavirus bill

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)

SNAP tabbed for $15.5 billion increase to handle coronavirus needs

Senate and Trump administration negotiators agreed on a $15.5 billion increase in SNAP funding on Wednesday to pay for growing enrollment due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they rejected a request by anti-hunger groups for higher benefits. The relief package includes $8.8 billion for child nutrition and $450 million for the government to buy and donate food to food banks. (No paywall)

Higher SNAP benefits backed by House Democrats for coronavirus relief

With the Senate stymied over a coronavirus relief bill, House Democrats drafted a 1,200-page alternative on Monday that called for a 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits and the donation of $300 million of food to food banks. (No paywall)

Boost SNAP benefits by 15 percent to weather coronavirus, says think tank

Just as lawmakers temporarily increased food stamp benefits during the Great Recession of 2008-09, Congress should boost benefits to help poor families cope with the economic downturn that is accompanying efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, said the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on Thursday. (No paywall)

Covid-19 relief bill suspends SNAP work and training requirements

The Senate is expected to vote this week on the House-passed Covid-19 relief bill that suspends work and job-training requirement for SNAP recipients, a step that could preserve benefits for hundreds of thousands of people. "I believe the vast majority of Senators in both parties will agree we should act swiftly to secure relief for American workers, families, and small businesses," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the weekend.(No paywall)

More than $1 billion for public nutrition in COVID-19 bill

The government would provide lunch money for low-income children shut out of school meals by COVID-19 closures under the "families first" bill proposed by House Democrats. The bill would provide an additional $1 billion for other public nutrition programs. (No paywall)

Labor shortages, SNAP cuts, trade deals: How could coronavirus affect our food supply chain?

Although U.S. shoppers concerned about the coronavirus pandemic have largely emptied stores of paper products and household cleaning supplies, so far most other grocery aisles remain stocked. Still, as the virus spreads across the U.S., it could expose other weaknesses in our food supply chain, experts say. (No paywall)

SNAP eligibility rules will tighten despite coronavirus outbreak

At the same time he raised the possibility of pandemic benefits, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Tuesday that stricter SNAP time limits will take effect, as scheduled, on April 1 for able-bodied adults. House Democrats have suggested higher benefits and broader SNAP availability to carry low-income workers through quarantines and economic disruptions due to the new coronavirus.