The Department of Agriculture is exploring ways to continue the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program if the government shutdown lingers through February. USDA has already claimed to find authority to reopen Farm Service Agency offices this week, and with SNAP benefits for March uncertain, the Trump Administration is seeking a way to keep recipients receiving benefits.
USDA spokesperson Tim Murtaugh told Reuters “We continue to examine our options for SNAP benefits in March.” While this is the longest government shutdown, no shutdown of the federal government has ever lasted long enough to stall SNAP benefits.
USDA released the February benefits early, allowed by a legal provision that allowed money to be allocated within 30 days of a shutdown, but the Trump administration has not identified publicly a mechanism to extend the program into March. USDA says the best solution is “for Congress to pass appropriations legislation in a form the President can sign.”