Rush Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Allow SNAP to Cover Hot and Prepared Foods

Rush Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Allow SNAP to Cover Hot and Prepared Foods
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Rush Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Allow SNAP to Cover Hot and Prepared Foods (Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Representatives Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), announced their introduction of the bipartisan SNAP PLUS Act of 2021 (H.R. 6338), legislation that would allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to be used to purchase hot foods and certain prepared foods, which are currently not covered by SNAP. 40.8 million Americans rely on SNAP benefits, according to the most recent public data.

“I grew up in a single-parent household. My mother worked hard to provide for us, but my family was always on the edge financially, and at times, we relied on government benefits to get by,” said Rep. Rush. “I remember many times when I would not have a decent meal for dinner. So, I understand the importance of food security programs firsthand. It is clear to me — and to families I have heard from who are facing food insecurity in the 1st District and across the nation — that the exclusion of hot and prepared foods under current SNAP criteria is impractical, misguided, and unwise.”

Buying Hot Food with SNAP

“The fact that you can use SNAP to purchase a frozen, breaded chicken, but not a hot rotisserie chicken or a salad from a grocery store salad bar, frankly, makes no sense,” Rush continued.

“This restriction is most harmful to individuals who may be experiencing homelessness, recovering from a natural disaster, or otherwise lack convenient access to a kitchen or the ability to heat up foods — in other words, people who are among those most in need. The SNAP PLUS Act will remedy the disparity in how hot and prepared foods are treated under SNAP. I am grateful for the support of my colleagues, Reps. Meng and Fitzpatrick, in introducing this vital bipartisan legislation just in time for Christmas. Congress must ensure that families can afford to put food on the table and make the right dietary choices for themselves and their families — not just during the holiday season, but every day.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented food security challenges for families across the country and Congress responded by allowing states to apply for purchasing flexibilities,” said Abby J. Leibman, President & CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. “The SNAP PLUS Act would modernize SNAP to better reflect the reality of working families on SNAP, who often rely on hot foods, like a rotisserie chicken, to provide a nutritious and convenient meal. We are proud to support this bill to ensure that SNAP benefits adequately support SNAP recipients today, while also addressing out-of-date and discriminatory restrictions on allowable purchases using SNAP benefits.”

U.S. House Agriculture Committee

Rep. Rush, a Member of the House Agriculture Committee, has long fought to strengthen and expand SNAP. More than 20 percent of households in Illinois’s 1st District rely on SNAP benefits to help make ends meet. In the early 1970s, Rush helped create and administer the Free Breakfast for Children Program in Chicago as a member of the Black Panther Party. By 1972, the program was feeding 25,000 children across the nation free breakfast every morning before they went to school. The Black Panther Party’s program was an impetus for the USDA to launch the federal School Breakfast Program in 1975, which today helps feed more than 14 million children.

The full text of the SNAP PLUS Act is available HERE.

Rush Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Allow SNAP to Cover Hot and Prepared Foods


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