As the partial government shutdown goes well into its third week, the budget impasse threatens food stamps for thousands. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue on Tuesday announced the agency had found a loophole to continue funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for one more month.
“We will rely on a provision of the continuing resolution that just expired that allows the federal government to make obligated payments within 30 days of the expiration of the CR or continuing resolution,” Perdue explained in a call with reporters. “We will be reaching out the states to instruct them to request early issuance of SNAP benefits for February. States will have until January the 20th to implement the early issuance.”
The 30-day window for obligated payments on the expired continuing resolution ends on Jan. 21, so states must request their funds early in order to receive SNAP payments for February.
Perdue said there is currently no plan in place to provide SNAP benefits beyond the end of February.
“We provided an additional month of SNAP benefits with this solution,” Perdue said. “I believe this is ample time for Congress to act and to send the president appropriations bill he is able to sign.”
Perdue said the funding will allow states to continue SNAP at current levels and to accept new enrollees through February. He also said other major nutrition programs, such as the school lunch program and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) have sufficient funding to continue through Feb.