This week we saw the passage of the Farm Bill in both the Senate (Tuesday) and in the House (Wednesday). This truly bi-partisan bill happened quickly during a lame duck session.
So, how did this happen so quickly?
After the House and Senate were unable to find a compromise, and the 2014 Farm Bill expired, we didn’t think we’d see any movement until the New Year. However, after the mid-term elections, the House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders were able to work out their differences. The team of four have been working with each other and staff to compromise and ensure there was funding for SNAP and farmers before the end of the year.
What happened to SNAP and TEFAP?
Through the negotiations, no new additional work requirements are being tacked onto SNAP and TEFAP was fully funded. As a reminder, two of every three SNAP recipients are either children, seniors or individuals with disabilities. Those that are SNAP recipients and can work do work.
This was a huge win for the 765,000 Central Floridians that use SNAP to have food on their tables. Because of that, we asked our Congressional delegation to support the Farm Bill.
What else is in the Farm Bill?
SNAP and TEFAP are just a small portion of the Farm Bill but SNAP accounts for nearly 80% of the Farm Bill funding. We’ve also noted that it includes language to create pilot programs. One of these programs includes online SNAP sales, which would allow recipients to participate in curbside pick-up at stores, or pay for their groceries through a mobile payment (similar to Apple Pay or Google Pay)1.
Another program, titled Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI), was reauthorized to provide grants to grocers to provide additional incentives to SNAP recipients to purchase healthier items like fresh produce.
It also includes agricultural subsidies for farmers.
Who voted for it?
We’re grateful to have members of Congress that support food banks like ours. A special thank you to Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, Congresswoman Val Demings, Congressman Darren Soto, Congressman Daniel Webster and Senator Bill Nelson for their Yes votes on the Farm Bill.
What happens next?
We’re still waiting for President Trump to sign the 2018 Farm Bill into law. We expect him to sign it before the end of the week.