Should SNAP recipients be allowed to spend benefits on vitamins?

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — A revived push in Congress would allow food stamp recipients to spend their benefits on vitamins.

Washington correspondent Jessi Turnure reports on how some believe they should save their money.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 40,000 households in Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers’ district receive food stamp benefits.

They, along with the millions of others across the country, can spend the money on food and drinks, but not on vitamins and supplements.

“A lot of these families are very poor and they don’t get a good nutritious diet,” said Congressman Rogers. “They lack the vitamins and minerals they need.”

So Rogers introduced legislation to change the rules.

“I just find it amazing that you can use your food stamps or SNAP benefits to buy Cheetos, but you can’t buy a multivitamin,” said Congressman Rogers.

But some people fear the legislation could leave families hungry if they simply replace substantial food with supplements.

Groups like the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities want Congress to boost SNAP Benefits to help them pay for healthier options, saying a statement, ” Increasing participants’ purchasing power would improve both food security and diet equality.” 

That’s one of the arguments Rogers heard when he first tried to run the proposal during last year’s Farm Bill Debate. 

“It ran into opposition from the food organizations who wanted to make sure none of their money was cut into and I’m sure we’ll have that fight this time,” said Congressman Rogers.

Rogers adds his legislation won’t cost taxpayers any more money. His next step is to sell it to the Agriculture Committee.

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