Should Congress provide free meals to all students K-12?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

This bill would provide free breakfast, lunch, and dinner to every student from K-12 without a poverty requirement. The cost of producing meals is not fully covered but with this bill, the full amount will be reimbursed. Families that qualify for EBT will receive an additional $60 during the summer months. Sponsor: Rep. Omar, Ilhan (Democrat, Minnesota, District 05)
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Opponents say

•      "Free and reduced school meals are for those who need the assistance. Universal school meals isn’t about increasing access for hungry children - it’s about taxpayers subsidizing meals for those who do not need it." Source: Senator John Boozman (Republican, Arkansas), Michigan Advance

•      "Lawmakers have already expanded the reach of these federal offerings beyond the meals’ original purpose - which was to help children from low-income families. Now, the programs are serving meals to wealthier students and wasting valuable taxpayer resources meant for students in need." Jonathan Butcher, The Heritage Foundation 

Proponents say

•      "Providing free school meals is a crucial investment in the health, education, and well-being of America’s children. It ensures that all students, regardless of their family’s financial situation, have access to nutritious meals that support their physical and mental development. Additionally, free school breakfasts and lunches have been shown to improve academic performance, reduce absenteeism, and decrease food insecurity. This legislation is a crucial step in creating a more equitable educational system by ensuring that all students have the nourishment they need to succeed, as well as lifting the financial burden and stigma off families struggling to afford food. By investing in our children’s future through free school meals, we are also investing in the future of our communities and our nation." Source: Representative Gwen Moore (Democrat, Wisconsin), Press Release

•     "No child should be forced to learn on an empty stomach. The fact that we here in the United States are having a debate on the value of providing crucial meals to our children in times where we are expecting them to exercise their brain and to receive information through their education lessons is an embarrassment." Source: Representative Ilhan Omar (Democrat, Minnesota), Truthout

•     "Every child deserves a quality education and a fair shot at success. No child deserves to go hungry. I am working hard to deliver resources for our kids’ education, and I am going to work equally hard to make sure our kids are fed - so that the pangs of hunger aren’t undercutting the opportunities ahead of them. This legislation would take New Mexico’s recent universal school meals and make it permanent nationwide, while also helping to save our state up to $30 million annually. When we invest in our children, we invest in our future." Source: Senator Martin Heinrich (Senator, New Mexico), Press Release