Earlier this month Congress passed a bipartisan budget agreement for 2017. It included increased funding for TEFAP and fully funded the expected caseloads for other federal nutrition programs like SNAP, WIC, and school meals.
Over 12.1 million low-income children received free or reduced-price school breakfast in the US every day in the 2015-2016 school year. Compared to the 2014-2015 school year, this is an increase of 3.7%, or 433,000 children. In Washington State the number of students receiving free or reduced-price school breakfast barely changed compared to the previous school year.
There is a lot of uncertainty in light of recent election results. In the words of Congressman Jim McGovern, an avid anti-hunger advocate, “the war on the poor is underway.” Moving forward, it is reasonable to expect policy changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and block granting of Medicaid, SNAP and its related programs, and the Head Start program.
While many kids are out and enjoying their summers, not all have adequate access to enough food to eat. There are over 485,000 kids who eat free and reduced-price meals during the school year, but where do they get food when school is out? Food Lifeline aims to feed more children in the summer through our Kids Cafe program. Recently, Congressman Rick Larsen and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene visited two of these Kids Cafe sites.
We’ve been talking for many years now about the challenges Washington faces in closing the summer meal gap and meeting the needs of kids who rely on free or reduced school meals during the school year. Well, this year we have some good news! The Food Research and Action Center’s (FRAC) latest Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation report shows that Washington state improved by every measure for kids taking advantage of summer meal sites.
After several months of anticipation the House has its own Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) bill (read about the Senate version here). Unlike the Senate version, the bill is not a bi-partisan bill supported by committee members on both sides of the aisle. Unfortunately the news is not good.
We’ve been discussing Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) for a while now. Our previous blog post lays out the basics of the programs and why they’re so important to our work to end hunger in our region.
On January 20th, the Senate Agriculture Committee brought forward their version of a CNR bill. While the actual bill has many, many pieces to it, here are some of the highlights:
Shortly after the New Year, the National Commission on Hunger released its final report – “Freedom From Hunger: An Achievable Goal for the United States of America.” The Commission was created as part of the federal spending bill in 2014 and tasked members to provide policy recommendations to Congress and the USDA Secretary that would use the Department of Agriculture’s existing programs and funds in a more effective way to combat domestic hunger and food insecurity.
This week Congress passed an omnibus budget bill to keep the federal government funded through next year. This is a huge, bipartisan accomplishment and given the current climate in DC, the fact that program funding levels were maintained with a few increases is a huge win. The bill emerged as two pieces of legislation that were ultimately combined into one bill: the budget and tax provisions.
The overall spending bill sets funding levels for programs through September 30, 2017. Key hunger program funding elements include: