Should Congress authorize funding for a variety of child nutrition and food security programs to fight child food insecurity?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

This bill would authorize new programs, or reauthorize past programs, that would expand access to school means, guarantee the future of school meal programs, update the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (commonly referred to as WIC), begin authorizing a national program countering food insecurity in the summer, provide additionally funding to schools to complete these goals, and bolster the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). It would also grant the United States Secretary of Agriculture the authority to waive certain statutory or regulatory requirements under certain child nutrition programs on a state-by-state or national level in the event of a qualifying emergency. Sponsor: Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (Democrat, Virginia, District 3) View full bill text ➔

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Opponents say

 "H.R. 8450, the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act, is another bill that misses the mark. Instead of funding targeted need-based programs, this bill would create bloated and extraneous programs at the expense of taxpayers. Spending more is not the way to ensure these programs are meeting the intended purpose of feeding kids in need. Rushing another reauthorization of our child nutrition programs is not the answer. We need more time. Time to see how these programs actually work, time to assess their impact before we change them or layer even more requirements on schools. Rushing to score political points before November is no reason to weigh schools down with more unnecessary standards, reports, and programs.

Lastly, this bill will cost taxpayers billions of dollars when inflation is the highest it has been in 40 years. Pushing plant-based pilot programs, adding new grants for scratch cooking, and expanding multiple other programs are ridiculous when schools are facing inflation and supply chain crises. Can the majority assure us that the spending in this bill won’t make inflation worse? As the House of Representatives, we are entrusted with the power of the purse — this is an important duty. If we are going to throw more money at programs just because special interest groups ask us to, we are not taking our responsibility to taxpayers seriously." Source: Rep. Virginia Foxx (Republican, North Carolina, District 5)

 "HR 8450 is a far-left wish list, seeking to expand welfare for all through universal free school meals and trying to use the school meals programs as a pretext to push far-left environmental, labor, and social justice policies. The legislation is a blatant attempt to expand welfare for everyone, including the wealthy. As mentioned, the school meals program is being used as a pretext to push unrelated left-wing ideological objectives, with children as pawns in this 'game.'" Source: Daren Bakst, The Heritage Foundation

Proponents say

  "One of the key lessons reaffirmed by our response to the COVID-19 pandemic is that, when we invest in child nutrition programs, we help reduce child hunger. In fact, from January 2021 through April 2021, food shortage rates among households with children fell by more than 40 percent—thanks to the investments in several COVID-19 relief packages. Even still, we know we have more work ahead to achieve our ultimate goal—eliminating child hunger in America. The Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act takes long overdue steps to deliver on that goal by modernizing proven child nutrition programs and providing more children and families with access to nutrition assistance. This is a critical opportunity to help fulfill our basic responsibility to keep children from going hungry.Source: Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (Democrat, Virginia, District 3)

  "While Congress and the White House took action to keep kids fed during the pandemic, those changes were all temporary. It’s been more than a decade since these programs were last updated and a lot has changed in that time. Not only would these changes modernize the way we reach kids with the food they need, they would go a long way in helping support families in the face of rising food and gas prices, inflation and other economic challenges. No Kid Hungry supports the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act. This bill is an important step forward in strengthening the programs that feed kids." Source: Meredith Jorss, No Kid Hungry

  "Home Grown applauds the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act and the proposed investments in CACFP. We thank Chairman Scott and Representative Bonamici for the leadership in bringing this forward. Now that the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act has passed the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee, it needs a vote of the full U.S. House of Representatives. Additionally, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee needs to prioritize the Child Nutrition Reauthorization and prioritize making improvements to and investments in CACFP." Source: Home Grown