U.S. Grocers Ask Congress to Oppose SNAP Restrictions

The National Grocers Association (NGA), alongside independent community grocers nationwide, sent a letter to Congress opposing recent efforts within the FY2024 House Agriculture Appropriations bill to restrict SNAP purchases under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The NGA said the bill includes two provisions that would undermine SNAP:

  • One would create a pilot program to catalog and restrict SNAP purchases.
  • The other would collect SNAP purchasing data with the goal of eventually restricting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program purchases.

“One of the main reasons SNAP is such an effective program is because of the ease of processing transactions for both retailers and beneficiaries, allowing folks to make the best decisions for their nutritional needs and families,” said Stephanie Johnson, RDN, NGA vice president of government relations.

“Independent grocers support SNAP choice because it maintains an already successful program and ensures families can shop with the same dignity and ease as any other grocery customer,” Johnson added. 

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Nearly 2,500 NGA members from across the country, located in every Congressional district, signed the letter sent to Congress on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

Part of the letter states, “The dietary needs of the SNAP population are diverse, and no one diet would be appropriate for all participants. For instance, a cancer patient struggling to gain weight doesn’t have the same needs as a child fighting diabetes.”

Also, the letter explains that contrasted with other nutrition programs, such as the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, flexibility is critical to the program’s success, and restrictions would limit the program’s ability to react to the community’s changing needs.

SNAP’s more straightforward structure boasts a network of 259,000 retailers, improving accessibility to low-income families.

In addition, NGA members point out to Congress that just as troubling is the proposal to monitor SNAP purchases, asking retailers, as an extension of the federal government, to spy on their customers’ shopping habits and keep records of how they spend their money.