Thursday, August 4, 2016

Senators oppose SNAP reforms

Senator Thad Cochran issued the following press release:


Bipartisan Group of Senators Contends USDA Plan Would Limit Food Access in Rural Areas

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) have joined a bipartisan group of Senators raising concerns that a proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rule could limit food access in rural areas.

Cochran and Wicker are among 47 Senators who signed a letter asking USDA to revise its controversial proposed rule on retailer eligibility requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  The rule would require all retailers, including smaller food suppliers like convenience stores, to stock seven different varieties of food products within four “staple food” groups in order to be eligible to accept SNAP benefits.

While the USDA intended the rule to increase access to healthy foods, it would actually limit food access for many people in rural communities--contrary to congressional intent in the 2014 farm bill.  For example, compliance costs could prevent many small retailers from accepting SNAP in areas where larger food retailers are not present or accessible.

The Senators encouraged Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack “to seriously consider the combined impact of the requirements in this proposed rule and revise the rule to better balance the importance of ensuring the availability of nutritious food and providing adequate access for SNAP recipients in all parts of the country.”

“Unfortunately, the combined impact of the proposed changes will likely result in the removal of a large number of small format retailers and small businesses from SNAP.  This raises questions regarding the ability of FNS [USDA Food and Nutrition Service] to mitigate the food access challenges as Congress intended,” the letter said.

Within the 2014 farm bill, Congress stressed maintaining critical nutrition assistance for families.  At the same time, the law included strong provisions to fight trafficking, fraud and misuse within the SNAP program and to invest savings in new pilot programs to help people secure employment through job training and other services.  The Senate FY2017 Agriculture Appropriations Bill outlines a $1.167 billion decrease in mandatory spending for SNAP next year due to declining enrollments.

In addition to Cochran and Wicker, Senators signing the letter include Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

The letter to Agriculture Secretary Vilsack is available here:

Kingfish note: Sorry but gas stations and convenience stores don't have a right to accept food stamps nor is there anything in these stores that is nutritious and should be paid for by the taxpayers.  Food stamps recipients got along just fine going to grocery stores before the supersizers became eligible a few years ago. 


Anonymous said...

When asked directly for a comment Thad said, "I like ice cream".

Anonymous said...

What a tragedy - my white trash cousins wouldn't be able to use SNAP to buy cigarettes anymore . . . We need to protect people's ability to feed their kids from gas stations. Who cares about their health, we need to focus on the health of these culturally-enhancing gas stations where you can conveniently buy everything you need in one-stop like cigarillos, scratch-offs, little roses in glass tubes for your wife, and of course a brillo pad for cleaning your kitchen. What happens if people can't spend their SNAP in these stores anymore?? These pillars of the communities might go out of business and then people would have to meet up with their weed man somewhere else and buy beer on days other than Sunday. Unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

8:40 nailed it

Anonymous said...

Only nutritious items should be eligible to be paid for with food stamps. No candy, soft drinks, cookies, ice cream etc. Obviously the convenience store owners are the ones fighting this. "Send a check, I will fight for you to sell junk for taxpayer dollars".

Anonymous said...

I would like to see a breakdown of what is bought with SNAP. Should be very easy to do. Everything is on computers. All they would have to do is get it together. It is already there for them.

Anonymous said...

It's a sad reality - the state of welfare for poor people and corporate America. Processed food companies make a killing off junk food - hot dogs, potato chips, sodas, bleached wheat products, the stuff poor people get.

Anonymous said...


Johnny Weir said...

What are the 7 items required to be eligible for the snap program?
Stocking 7 Tolken items shouldn't be a probem.
Is one of them ATM machines?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The whole food stamp, snaps programs was never to help the poor people. There was already programs in place to do that. Food stamps, snaps was to help producers and businesses.
Take a real good look at the old commodities program. Families were given real food. Wasn't a lot of waste. Compare that to the snaps program. Look at what it is used to buy. Look at who benefits the most from it.

Anonymous said...

Under current rules, SNAP retailers must stock at least three varieties of foods in each of four food groups: fruits and vegetables, dairy, breads and cereals, and meats, poultry and fish. The new rules would require the retailers to stock seven varieties in each food group, and at least three of the food groups would have to include perishable items. In all, the rules would require stores to stock at least 168 items that USDA considers healthy.

The rules could mean that fewer convenience stores qualify to be SNAP retailers. The convenience store industry has argued that it often operates the only stores that serve certain neighborhoods and at certain times, like overnight. The proposal disqualifies many popular, nutrient-rich foods such as canned soups, frozen dinners and on-the-go snack packs.

Anonymous said...

TO: 10:11

I'm 73 years old and have seen good times and very bad times and have always, until now, never worried about recovering from very bad times. I don't know how to explain the way I feel other than to say things are very different now and I really don't think there is a way for us to overcome what we have done to ourselves. I'm for Trump only because he is the lesser of two evils.

FROM: 9:40

Anonymous said...

It's a damn start. This may be the first time that I agree with Obama admin. They should go back to stamps for specific items (meat, dairy, bread, etc...).

Anonymous said...

Senile Thad.

The "farm bill" is a trillion dollar food stamp boondoggle.

This is what Thad supporters voted for. They should STFU

Anonymous said...

^^^Trump is evil personified, not the lesser of anything - has your head been up your ass?

Anonymous said...

I have had some mighty fine chicken-on-a-stick at convenience stores, tater logs rock.

Anonymous said...

I totally don't get the concern. I lived off tater logs from the b-quick and nachos from gas mart and only gained 15 pounds my freshman year. That embarrassment where my pre-spandex jeans split when I sat down in class was really not a big deal - just switched to wearing sweats every day.

Anonymous said...

I'll take a turkey leg, 2 pizza sticks, and a couple of jojo's. Whurrr my delta folks at?

Anonymous said...

This is one program that needs to be discontinued. We are feeding the them in the schools up the the age of 18. And without this program maybe they will get the idea that they need to work for a living.

Anonymous said...

5:04, not only are they being fed through the school they are given a sack lunch to take home. If a family has several kids in school they should eat very well off our money.

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