WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP), announced her original co-sponsorship of the Expanding SNAP Options Act. This legislation would address hunger needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond by requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand online Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) purchasing choices. The bill would also provide funding for the creation of a universal online and app-based portal to make access to nutritious foods from the full variety of SNAP retailers possible and easy to navigate for consumers.
“Food insecurity has risen at an alarming rate due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Rosen. “This legislation would mobilize federal resources to help those struggling with food insecurity in Nevada and across the nation. I will continue fighting to increase access to critical nutrition assistance for struggling families during this unprecedented time of need.”
BACKGROUND: Nearly 400,000 individuals in Nevada rely on SNAP, more than 200,000 households, and totals nearly $600 million annually in federal benefits.
Currently, Nevada only has three online SNAP retailers.
More specifically, the Expanding SNAP Options Act would address hunger needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond by:
- Requiring the Secretary of Agriculture to implement online SNAP purchasing in all states;
- Providing $25 million to develop and maintain a secure, easy-to-use online and app-based portal for EBT redemption to support smaller retailers in offering products for online SNAP purchasing and;
- Providing $75 million for the creation of a USDA Technical Assistance Center to facilitate online purchasing and use of the portal for smaller retailers, direct-to-consumer farmers, and farmers’ markets, and providing public information about which local vendors participate in SNAP online purchasing.
The Expanding SNAP Options Act is endorsed by National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, Food Systems for the Future, Hunger Free America, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, National Grocers Association, Chicago Food Policy Action Council, Farmers Market Coalition, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Slow Food USA, John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Sustainable Food Center, Coastal Enterprises Inc, Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA, CDFI Coalition, Reinvestment Fund, Illinois Environmental Council, Illinois Farmers Market Association, Experimental Station, Farm to Table, National Organic Coalition, Organic Farming Association, Friends of Family Farmers, and the National Young Farmers Coalition.