Working Together to Nourish the Nation

House to consider coronavirus bill today that includes nutrition provisions

  • Thursday, March 12, 2020 2:44 PM
    Message # 8823784
    Roger Szemraj (Administrator)

    The House of Representatives is scheduled this morning to consider H.R. 6201 Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a broad response to the COVID-19 matter​.  Descriptive information has not yet been released and I expect we will see more as the day goes on.  But based on a reading of the bill, provisions dealing with access to food assistance programs include:

    • School Meals:
      • In any case in which a school is closed for at least 5 consecutive days during a public health emergency designation during which the school would otherwise be in session, each household containing at least 1 member who is an eligible child attending the school shall be eligible to receive assistance pursuant to a state agency plan for  temporary emergency standards of eligibility and levels of benefits under the SNAP program for households with eligible children. These plans approved by the Secretary shall provide for supplemental allotments to households receiving benefits under SNAP, and issuances to households not already receiving benefits. The level of benefits shall be determined by  the Secretary in an amount not less than the value of meals at the free rate over the course of 5 school days for each eligible child in the household.  ‘‘Eligible child’’ means a child who, if not for the closure of the school attended by the child during a public health emergency designation and due to concerns about a COVID–19 outbreak, would receive free or reduced price school meals.
      • The Secretary may establish a waiver for all States under section (l) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1760(l)), for purposes of—  (A) providing meals and meal supplements  under a qualified program; and  (B) carrying out subparagraph (A) with appropriate safety measures with respect to  COVID–19, as determined by the Secretary. A waiver established shall apply automatically to any State that elects to be subject to the waiver without further application.
      • The Secretary may grant a waiver relating to the nutritional content of meals served if the Secretary determines that such waiver is necessary to provide meals and meal supplements under a qualified program; and  there is a supply chain disruption with respect to foods served under such a qualified program and such disruption is due to COVID–19.
    • CACFP - The Secretary may grant a waiver to allow non-congregate feeding under a child and adult care food program  if such waiver is for the purposes of providing meals and meal supplements under such child and adult care food program; and carrying this out with appropriate  safety measures with respect to COVID–19, as determined by the Secretary. 
    • WIC - $500,000,000, to remain available through September 30, 2021;
    • TEFAP - $400,000,000, to remain available 19 through September 30, 2021 , including up to $100,000,000 of this amount may be used  for costs associated with the distribution of commodities.​​​

    There is no indication at the moment as to what the Senate may do once the House completes action on this bill.  I am sure there will be many questions and I will supplement information as best and quickly as possible.

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