House Farm Bill Proposal Threatens SNAP Purchasing Power

Last week, the lull of activity surrounding the Farm Bill burst back to life with the release of two competing frameworks. U.S. House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) released a title-by-title overview of the Farm Bill, and U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) released a summary framework of the Farm Bill in the Senate: The Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act.

The Farm Bill is a massive piece of legislation touching on a wide variety of programs and policies, and the nutrition title (Title IV) covers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and certain other federal nutrition programs. Congress usually passes a Farm Bill every five years, but last year passed a one-year extension through September 30, 2024.

In the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress directed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to modernize and reformulate the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP). The Thrifty Food Plan is the lowest-cost of four food plans developed by USDA FNS, and is used to calculate benefit amounts for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In October 2021, the modernized Thrifty Food Plan was implemented, leading to the first permanent increase to SNAP purchasing power in nearly 50 years.

Now, a provision included in the House Farm Bill framework would restrict future updates to the Thrifty Food Plan that are currently set to occur every five years (outside of annual cost of living adjustments). And while this proposal wouldn’t undo benefit gains already realized from the TFP modernization as some have proposed (including Iowa’s own Senator Chuck Grassley), it would prevent future scheduled increases.

Chairman Thompson’s proposal to freeze future Thrifty Food Plan updates would cut SNAP by $30 billion over the period of 2027-2033, including an estimated cut of $170 million in SNAP benefits for Iowans. Because the Thrifty Food Plan is used in funding formulas for other nutrition programs, it would also lead to cuts to The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), Summer EBT, and Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program block grant.

Iowans need a Thrifty Food Plan that continues to stay up to date with the times.

  • From October 2021 to March 2024, the TFP modernization led to over $306 million in additional SNAP benefits for Iowans struggling with hunger and food insecurity.

  • Without the TFP modernization, Iowa households would be receiving $67 less in SNAP benefits on average every month, and individuals would receive $1.11 less every day.

  • Based on Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates, freezing TFP updates (outside of inflation adjustments) would cut $170 million in SNAP benefits to Iowans over fiscal years 2027-2033, and would also deal cuts to The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).

  • Iowans need a Thrifty Food Plan that continues to stay up to date with the times—not preventing future benefit increases and leaving people struggling to put food on the table.

Tell your member of Congress: keep SNAP benefits up to date—don’t restrict Thrifty Food Plan updates!

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks
Iowa's 1st Congressional District
DC Office: (202) 225-6576
Contact via email

Rep. Ashley Hinson
Iowa's 2nd Congressional District
DC Office: (202) 225-2911
Contact via email

Rep. Zach Nunn
Iowa's 3rd Congressional District
DC Office: (202) 225-5476
Contact via email

Rep. Randy Feenstra
Iowa's 4th Congressional District
DC Office: (202) 225-4426
Contact via email

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