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Farm Bill Approved by House Allows SNAP Recipients to Purchase Supplements

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The U.S. House of Representatives on June 21 approved a massive Republican Farm Bill with changes to the government food stamps program that make it unlikely to become law in this form, according to Reuters.

The Senate is considering its own Farm Bill with no major changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) used by more than 40 million Americans, or about 12 percent of the total U.S. population.

The House passed the $867 billion Farm Bill in a 213-to-211 vote, earning the support of some conservative Republicans who helped defeat it in May after its renewal became entangled in an unrelated debate over immigration.

However, with the Bill’s allowance for nutritional supplements, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), approved its passage.

“CRN applauds the passage of HR 2 and commends the United States House of Representatives for voting to incorporate HR 3841, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act, as an amendment to the Farm Bill,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO, CRN. “The latter demonstrates strong bipartisan support for helping Americans who might not otherwise be able to meet their basic nutritional needs—ensuring everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, is able to achieve optimal health and wellness.

“HR 2 now includes language that specifically grants SNAP recipients the opportunity and ability to purchase a multivitamin supplement with their program benefits. CRN commends Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL) and original cosponsors Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Mia Love (R-UT), and Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) for introducing HR 3841 and applauds Rep. Rogers for offering this crucial amendment to the Farm Bill.

“While multivitamins and other nutritional supplements are not a replacement for a healthy diet, these products can help fill nutrient gaps and represent a solution for those looking to improve their nutrition status and ensure their families receive adequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals.

“CRN stands ready to continue working with Congressional leadership so that all Americans may be empowered to reach their full nutrition potential.”

Farm bills provide funding for diverse programs including food aid, crop subsidies, rural development, conservation and efforts to stem the opioid crisis in rural communities. The last bill came into effect in 2014, two years behind schedule, after extensive congressional negotiations and partisan fights over food stamps.

The Republican SNAP proposals in the current farm bill would expand the number of non-disabled individuals subject to work requirements by raising the top age to 59 from 49 and including more people caring for school-age children. It would also put new limits on state governors’ ability to waive work requirements in economically depressed areas.

Democrats opposed the Farm Bill, which typically gets bipartisan support, due to the proposed SNAP changes. The Senate, where Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority and passing most legislation requires 60 votes, is working on its own bipartisan version of the legislation.


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