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Congress of the United States Buashington, DE 20510 September 12, 2016 Honorable Tom Vilsack Secretary U.S. Department of Agriculture 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20250 Dear Secretary Vilsack ‘We write to roquest an accelerated timeline ofthe United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) demonstration project for the acceptance ofthe Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through online transactions. Your ongoing efforts to improve and modemize ‘SNAP will help increase the opportunity for low-income families to access healthy and affordable food that could ultimately lead to healthier lives As you know, our country is facing a health erisis. According to the Journal ofthe American Medical Association, 70 percent of American adults are overweight or obese. Additionally, 26 million people in the United States are diabetic, and another 79 million are pre-disbetic. Ifthe gro ofthis illness inereases at its eurent rate, 1 i 3 people will have diabetes by 2050. Moreover, heart disease isthe leading cause of death in the United States, killing one in four people, and costing $444 billion per year. Overall, numerous studies show that 80 percent of the 3 tillion dollars the United States spends on healthcare each year is for chronie diseases and lifestyle choiees many of whch are preventable and can be treated, in par, by eating well. tis imperative forthe economic future and the health of all Americans to ensure that each person has access to nutritious and affordable food, especially the 46 million people who rely on SNAP to ensure that they and their families have enough food to eat. As you know, individuals and thee families who rely on SNAP are more likely to reside in food deserts, have lower nutrition education, and liven poverty. That is why itis vital that our nation commits to reducing hunger and bolstering nutrition through improvements in SNAP, such as online transactions ‘We know that technological advancements over the last 10 years, like the proliferation of smartphones, have dramatically increased access tothe intemet throughout our county. Unfortunately, many of our governmental policies and programs have not kept pace with the «dramatic improvement in heelthy food access that technology offers. We deeply appreciate all of your efforts to increase access to healthy foods forall Americans, including your commitment launch a demonstration project to allow use of SNAP online. However, given the urgent need to catch up with the rapid pace at which the private sector is utilizing technology to expard access to healthy foods, we urge you to consider moving up the timing for beginning the projec, allowing all eligible etailrs to participate, and facilitating their participation by shortening the projects timeframe. We also ask that you consider whether itis feasible to have the approved retailer process the benefit transaetion atthe time the order is placed rather than atthe time of the delivery of the food, and begin developing a secure way of ‘processing the benefits without requiring pin numbers to be entered atthe time and place of delivery Expanding SNAP purchases through online transactions would not only help our economy, but it ‘would help us move towards a hunger-free and more nutritious America. Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to continuing to work together on this important issue. Sincerely, United States Senator United States Representative Top Tim Ryan Unites States Representative