Meng Supports Critical Food Security Bill

Aug 6, 2020
Press Release
Legislation would expand SNAP benefits to help reduce hunger and support restaurants during COVID-19
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) announced today that she has cosponsored the SNAP COVID-19 Anti-Hunger Restaurant Relief for You Act (H.R. 6688), which would expand the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Restaurant Meals Program (SNAP RMP) to help those experiencing food insecurity during the coronavirus crisis access low-cost meals at restaurants.
 
SNAP RMP allows individuals who are homeless, elderly, or disabled to use their SNAP benefits to purchase prepared meals at participating restaurants. But currently, the initiative is only offered in California, Arizona and Rhode Island. Expanding the program during the coronavirus outbreak would help millions of families experiencing food insecurity, and increase business for restaurants, many of which continue to struggle from the impact of the pandemic.
 
Specifically, the legislation would:
 
  • Allow SNAP beneficiaries to use their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards at restaurants and stores participating in SNAP RMP;
  • Allow the Secretary of Agriculture to waive requirements for states to establish an RMP during COVID-19; and
  • Allow additional food establishments to participate in SNAP RMP.
 
“COVID-19 caused millions of people to lose their jobs and this turned into a food crisis for many families. It is commonsense that we should expand and streamline all emergency food programs to ensure that no family goes hungry during this time,” said Meng. “I’m proud to support the SNAP COVID-19 Anti-Hunger Restaurant Relief for You Act that would give many families necessary options to purchase meals for their families. The program would also allow flexibility to ensure that states could create their own programs quickly, and enlarge the pool of food vendors. This bill would do immense good for many families and I urge my colleagues to support it.”
 
Meng has championed a number of initiatives to expand food assistance during COVID-19. Specifically, she has:
 
  • Called on the Agriculture Secretary to allow SNAP recipients to purchase hot food during COVID-19 on April 13;
  • Led 94 New York elected officials in a letter to President Trump urging him to expand food assistance, including the purchase of hot food with EBT on April 30;
  • Urged the Senate to adopt language from the House-passed Heroes Act that would allow SNAP recipients to purchase hot food on July 23;
 
SNAP is the largest federal nutrition assistance program. It provides food assistance to millions of individuals throughout the U.S. including in New York. It is administered by the Food and Nutrition Service, a component of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
 
The SNAP COVID-19 Anti-Hunger Restaurant Relief for You Act was introduced by Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), and a Senate version is sponsored by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT).