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Fudge, Nutrition Subcommittee Members Introduce Legislation to Extend SNAP Waiver Flexibility

WASHINGTON (July 27, 2020) – New legislation introduced today by House Agriculture Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations Subcommittee Chair Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio and her fellow subcommittee members would allow states to extend administrative flexibilities for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program , authorized by Congress in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  Fudge represents Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, and along with Reps. Jim McGovern (MA-02), Alma Adams (NC-12), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Al Lawson, Jr. (FL-05), and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), introduced HR 7794, The Emergency SNAP Flexibilities Extension Act, which augments the flexibility that FFCRA provided to states by extending the blanket SNAP waivers approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been approving for states during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Given the continued economic fallout from the pandemic has pushed millions of American households further into food insecurity, this bill will enable states to continue the waivers that are currently helping to ensure people right at the poverty line can access SNAP benefits,” said Fudge. “This is something USDA is doing broadly now, and should continue doing to make sure hungry Americans—including  children, seniors and individuals with disabilities—have enough to eat.”

The legislation would allow states to extend SNAP certification periods, adjust periodic reporting and interview requirements through June 30, 2021 without having to gain USDA approval. It would also enable states to use simplified reporting in lieu of the regular recertification requirements for some, or all, of their recertifications through December 31, 2021 to address the potential surge of new cases and renewals.

“This pandemic has created uncertainty for all Americans, but no one has felt it more acutely than vulnerable workers in our country who have been made to choose between risking their health and the safety of their families to earn enough money to eat,” added Fudge. “We have the capability to endow SNAP with the flexibility to ensure poor people don’t have to make such an impossible choice, and we should absolutely do so.”

The bill comes as USDA has recently denied or delayed extending such waivers. Additionally, USDA announced on July 21 that the Department is unlikely to extend these waivers for the majority of states starting in September 2020.
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