A short-term funding package that President Joe Biden signed into law on Thursday continues the prohibition on EBT processing fees for SNAP purchases as part of the one-year farm bill extension.
The law, which averts a partial government shutdown, gives agricultural negotiators until Sept. 30, 2024, to pass a farm bill, Agriculture Dive reported.
The National Grocers Association praised the extension of the EBT processing fees prohibition for SNAP last week.
“If EBT processing fees were allowed, stores of all sizes would have been forced to pay new fees on EBT transactions which would likely reduce the number of participating retailers in the program,” the trade group said in its press release, noting that stores serving urban, rural and other high-need areas where residents rely on SNAP would be especially impacted.
Grocers and SNAP consumers have already been grappling with the aftermath of SNAP emergency allotments ending earlier this year.
The NGA asked Congress at the start of this year to permanently ban EBT processing fees as part of the trade group’s desired 2023 farm bill priorities for independent grocers.
Last week, the trade group reiterated its stance against EBT processing fees, saying it will continue to fight for a permanent ban in the next farm bill.
Earlier this year Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Ohio in the House and senators Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M. and Peter Welch, D-V.T. introduced legislation that would, in part, permanently prohibit EBT processing fees. Both the NGA and FMI — The Food Industry Association threw support behind the proposed legislation.
In August, 22.1 million households received SNAP benefits, up 2.5% compared to the same month a year ago, per USDA data.