Thank you for contacting me about Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits during this public health crisis. I appreciate hearing from you.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought disruption and uncertainty to households across Vermont and throughout the country. Young children, in particular, have struggled during this time, as schools have closed, sports and activities have been canceled, and summer camps are often remaining closed. There should be one thing on which we can all agree: it is the times when uncertainty remains the greatest that we must work to provide security, safety, and confidence in our children. Knowing they have food to eat is one way in which we can do this for our kids.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act made significant investments in the SNAP program, and increased flexibility for states to administer their programs. These were important steps, and ones that states have been using and implementing since the bill was signed into law in March. As economic uncertainty continues, however, more needs to be done. I was pleased to see that the HEROES Act, a sweeping relief and stimulus bill passed by the House of Representatives in May, increased SNAP benefits by 15 percent and increased the minimum benefit for seniors from $16 to $30 through September 2021. The bill also blocked the implementation of regulatory changes that would restrict certain access to SNAP for low-income seniors.
The Senate has yet to act on the House-passed HEROES Act, nor any companion legislation. As the Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I have been pressing members of the Senate to negotiate a further relief package to help address the ongoing health and economic crisis. I believe these provisions should be considered in any such package, and I will continue to press for strong support for SNAP moving forward.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please keep in touch.
United States Senator