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Democrats Roll Out Bill to Let Restaurants Accept Food Stamps

“Jessica Bartholow, a policy advocate with the Western Center on Law & Poverty — a California-based support group focused on legal advocation of people in poverty — said in an email Wednesday her organization has worked for years to expand the Restaurant Meal Program’s reach. Working with state representatives, the organization has helped lobby to change state laws through the Golden State’s Calfresh Restaurant Meal Program, helping to expand awareness and access to the program.

“Still, the federal law limits the ability of the state to serve all people who need it during the pandemic,” Bartholow said. “Also, other states which want to offer the program are limited in their ability to do so. California has asked for a waiver to allow the state to serve all SNAP recipients through RMP during the recession but the [U.S. Department of Agriculture] hasn’t approved it.”

Democrats Roll Out Bill to Let Restaurants Accept Food Stamps

As Jobless Claims Soar, More Restaurants Might Finally Be Able to Accept SNAP Benefits

“In a letter on April 2, Sen. Murphy called on USDA director Sonny Perdue to expand RMP participation to all SNAP recipients until the end of the COVID-19 emergency. So has the Western Center on Law and Poverty, which has advocated for SNAP RMP expansion for over a decade. But the USDA hasn’t budged. “It’s a failure to lead in a time of crisis,” says Jessica Bartholow, a WCLP policy advocate.

Now Murphy and Panetta hope to legislate the solution. The National Restaurant Association, the National Council of Chain Restaurants, and Congressional Hunger Center have all expressed support. “This is a private-public partnership that works,” says Bartholow. “We have food rotting in restaurants and workers that want to work and can’t.”

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