The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation to extend food assistance to more than 20 million Americans, and the Senate is expected to approve it soon.
The House measure would extend the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, which is funded by a combination of food stamps and income-based federal housing assistance, for another year, the Senate measure would raise the maximum annual food stamp benefit by $1,000 and add $1.25 to the amount of the Supplemental Nutrition Education Program (S.N.E.P.) benefits.
Under the House bill, those receiving food stamps would be eligible for benefits that could increase by $3 a month, and those receiving S.N.
“P.E., the Supplemental Nutritional Education Program, and Supplemental Nutrition Facts program would be able to continue providing them.
The Senate measure, meanwhile, would increase SNAP benefits by $2 a month for everyone, except children, the elderly, people with disabilities and children.
House Republicans also passed a bill that would allow states to implement their own rules to limit how much food can be thrown out at supermarkets, grocery stores and other businesses.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, would allow people who lose jobs due to Hurricane Sandy to keep food stamps for a period of six months and would allow families to deduct the cost of meals at a restaurant or grocery store.
Amanash said he was inspired by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to end the state’s food stamp program and expand food stamp benefits to low-income families in order to rebuild.
The governor said his goal was to make the food stamp system more equitable.
The state has already had to close a number of programs because of the storm.