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Rubio, Booker Introduce Snap Nutrition Security Act

Jul 14, 2023 | Press Releases

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to help low-income Americans afford food and remedy nutrient deficiencies. However, there is a significant lack of data regarding SNAP’s impact on improving diet quality and poor nutrition. This makes it difficult for lawmakers to evaluate the program and understand whether taxpayer dollars are being used effectively.

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the SNAP Nutrition Security Act to help improve SNAP recipients’ diet quality and collect data on SNAP purchases to identify what products taxpayer dollars are being spent on.

  • “In the midst of America’s obesity crisis, taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be spent on junk food. This legislation would strengthen the SNAP program by requiring the USDA to collect data on the impact of SNAP. This data will provide a clearer picture of how SNAP can be used to improve recipient’s health and ensure the program promotes a healthy, nutritious diet.” – Senator Rubio
  • “SNAP plays a crucial role in alleviating poverty and food insecurity, but needs to do better at improving nutrition security and diet quality for program participants. We need timely, comprehensive data to determine SNAP’s impact on nutrition security and diet quality in order to effectively promote access to nutritious food, improve the well-being of SNAP recipients, and help address our nation’s alarming increase in chronic diet-related diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.” – Senator Booker

This legislation was supported by Advocacy at the American Heart Association, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, José Andrés, and numerous other professionals. 

“What we eat and drink matter to our heart and brain health. The SNAP Nutrition Security Act of 2023 would help ensure that programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can adequately track and measure the availability, accessibility and affordability of nutritious foods, making a healthy diet a reality for more people across the country. The American Heart Association thanks Senators Booker and Rubio for their work to improve food security and nutrition quality for families nationwide and urges their colleagues in Congress to support this important legislation.” Mark Schoeberl, Executive Vice President of Advocacy at the American Heart Association

“This bipartisan bill will provide the information needed to improve access to nutritious food and strengthen SNAP, our largest food safety net program. CSPI thanks Senators Booker and Rubio for investing in tools to inform future approaches to mitigate chronic disease disparities. We urge Congress to do the same by including The Nutrition Security Act in the 2023 Farm Bill.” – Center for Science in the Public Interest Senior Policy Associate Joelle Johnson 

“They say we are what we eat, and if we want healthier communities that are able to feed themselves with dignity, we must make nutrition a priority in the fight against hunger. I applaud this bipartisan effort from Senators Booker and Rubio, and encourage everyone to join them in building longer tables where a plate of food represents a better tomorrow.”  José Andrés, a chef, humanitarian, and founder of the Global Food Institute at George Washington University.

“SNAP is a powerful program for reducing hunger and food insecurity. Given the program’s extensive reach and potential, alongside the staggering consequences of our national epidemic of diet-related diseases, it’s time to make advancing nutrition security an additional core, measurable objective of SNAP. This new bill is a sensible step to advance nutrition security through a lens of health equity, as people who experience food insecurity have higher risk for poor nutrition and diet-related conditions, founded in long-standing social determinants of health and other structural inequities.” – Dariush Mozaffarian, Jean Mayer Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University

“Low-income Americans repeatedly tell us they think federal food programs such as SNAP should do more to both reduce U.S. hunger and help families afford healthier food.  We are pleased that this bill will formalize both goals within the program. All Americans deserve access to sufficient, nutritious food. We greatly thank Senator Booker for his leadership on these issues.” – Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a nationwide direct service and advocacy organization

“By strengthening SNAP, we can help protect national security by providing more young Americans access to nutritious foods so they can grow up healthy and prepared for success.” – Lieutenant General Norman Seip, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), Mission: Readiness member

“Efforts to insure that all Americans, regardless of income, have access to the nutrition they need will help address rapidly rising rates of obesity and diabetes in the US. A continued focus on nutrition security and high-quality dietary intake will help set the US on a trajectory toward better health now and in generations to come. SNAP is an enormously important part of these efforts.”  – Hilary Seligman, Director, Food Policy, Health, and Hunger Research Program at UCSF’s Center for Vulnerable Populations

“Congress should make diet quality a core, statutory focus of SNAP. The Bipartisan Policy Center endorses this bipartisan legislation that will help guarantee that the SNAP program not only addresses hunger but also facilitates access to nutritious foods. A critical initial measure toward strengthening nutrition security involves a robust data collection strategy which will provide vital insights to shape future SNAP strategies that advance food and nutrition security. BPC is excited to work with Senators Booker and Rubio on this bipartisan endeavor to enhance SNAP and create a positive impact.” – Shana Christrup, Director of Public Health with the Bipartisan Policy Center

“Throughout its decades of existence, there is no question that the SNAP program has been highly effective and efficient at reducing hunger. Today’s current realities, where 50% of Americans have a preventable chronic disease, 90% do not meet Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ fruit and vegetable recommendations, and SNAP participants’ consistently cite affordability as a barrier to healthier eating, only underscore how far we must go to improve positive health outcomes for communities across the U.S.To that end, we must ensure that SNAP’s success is measured by its effectiveness in ensuring individuals have access to foods of high dietary quality like fresh fruits and vegetables. We thank Senators Booker and Rubio for their leadership to continue the fight of reducing nutrition insecurity in this country.” – International Fresh Produce Association CEO Cathy Burns

The full list of endorsing organizations can be found here.

Flashback … Senator Rubio recently introduced the Healthy SNAP Act to exclude junk food from SNAP and has been a consistent advocate for reorienting SNAP to provide healthy, nutritious food.

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