ARLINGTON, Va. – Today, FMI – The Food Industry Association welcomed the introduction of the Ensuring Fee-Free Benefit Transactions (EBT) Act (S. 2449) by Sens. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Peter Welch (D-VT), Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, to prevent the levying of processing and other related fees on grocers for purchases made with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
The bill is a companion to FMI-endorsed legislation that was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last month by Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH).
“FMI applauds Sens. Luján and Welch for their leadership in introducing the EBT Act to safeguard SNAP participants’ access to grocers in New Mexico, Vermont and across the country,” FMI Chief Public Policy Officer Jennifer Hatcher said in a statement. “Tacking on processing or other related fees for SNAP purchases would be an unfair burden on retailers and customers alike and could result in higher costs for both shoppers and grocers. Such fees could also lead to some stores being unable to become or remain SNAP-authorized retail locations, negatively impacting the ability of SNAP participants to shop at their preferred supermarket.
“Maintaining the integrity of the SNAP program is vitally important to assure millions of Americans are able to access the foods they need to keep their families fed. The EBT Act will ensure that processing or other related fees outside of our control will never be imposed on food retailers or their customers in the SNAP program. We look forward to working with Sens. Luján and Welch to secure passage of the EBT Act to protect the viability of the SNAP program for retailers and their customers in every community.”
FMI sent an endorsement letter to Sens. Luján and Welch offering strong support for the EBT Act, which is available here.