WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill (S. 3042) by vote of 86 to 11. The Farm Bill reauthorizes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other programs under the purview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that are set to expire on September 30.
Throughout the Farm Bill process, NACS has advocated on behalf of the convenience store industry to preserve the fundamental role stores play as SNAP retailers. Unlike the House version of the bill, the Senate Farm Bill only makes slight changes to SNAP.
Some of the changes that would affect SNAP retailers include:
- Processing fees. The legislation would prohibit processing fees, interchange fees and routing fees from all EBT transactions. This prohibition would expire in 2022.
- GAO study of EBT payments system. The legislation asks the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study of the current EBT payments system, participants and providers. The GAO must report its findings to the Secretary of Agriculture, who then has the authority to promulgate regulations based on the results.
- Retailer incentives program. The legislation creates a retailer incentives program instructing the USDA to create an approval process for retailers seeking to offer incentives for SNAP purchases of foods that are within the dietary guidelines.
Last week, the House passed its version of the Farm Bill by a narrow, party-line vote. Following yesterday’s passage of the Senate version, the two chambers will go to conference to reconcile the differences in their bills.
Stay tuned to the NACS Daily for updates on the Farm Bill process.