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Lawmakers introduce compromise legislation to extend federal child nutrition flexibilities

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    Lawmakers introduce compromise legislation to extend federal child nutrition flexibilities

    Update: On June 25, President Biden signed H.R. 8150 as amended by the U.S. Senate into law. Notably, the final version of the measure omits a provision that would have allowed children in the reduced-price meal category to qualify for free meals for the FY 2022-FY 2023 school year. 

    On June 21, Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) introduced the bipartisan Keep Kids Fed Act (H.R. 8150) to extend certain federal child nutrition flexibilities currently set to expire on June 30. Though the legislation would not extend all existing child nutrition waivers authorized under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on April 20, 2021, it will take steps to ensure children continue to access healthy, affordable meals at school, child care and summer sites in the midst of supply chain disruptions and rising operational costs.  

    Child nutrition program flexibilities have assisted schools and other providers with managing the increased costs associated with pandemic-related operational and supply chain disruptions by increasing reimbursement rates, allowing schools to substitute food products and other nutrition components, and eliminating various income eligibility and paperwork requirements. Without continued program flexibilities, schools, child care providers and summer meal sites will face significant barriers in providing children with enough healthy food.  

    To avoid these disruptions, the Keep Kids Fed Act would extend USDA waivers through the summer to allow meal deliveries and grab-and-go options for students. Throughout the 2022-2023 school year, the bill would also extend supply chain flexibilities, increase reimbursement rates within child care food programs and school meals programs. It would not, however, extend the existing flexibility allowing schools to waive application and eligibility determination requirements for free and reduced price school meals. The Keep Kid Feds Act is estimated to cost $3 billion but will be fully paid for with unspent funds from USDA, the U.S. Department of Education and the Small Business Administration (SBA).  

    Counties support federal action to ensure children have access to healthy food at school and during the summer months and to help federal nutrition programs weather supply chain disruptions, in workforce shortages and other operational challenges. Though the role of county governments in administering, operating and funding child nutrition programs varies, these programs support key county priorities such as improving early child development, combatting food insecurity and preventing child poverty. NACo urges Congress to swiftly pass the Keep Kids Fed Act and will continue to monitor action on this issue. 

    Access the full text of the Keep Kids Fed Act here.  

    Additional Resources

    • NACo Blog: Senators introduce bipartisan bill to extend school meal program flexibilities
    • NACo Toolkit: The County Human Services and Education Landscape
    • NACo Toolkit: Priorities for Strengthening the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    On June 21, Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) introduced the bipartisan Keep Kids Fed Act (H.R. 8150) to extend certain federal child nutrition flexibilities currently set to expire on June 30.
    2022-06-22
    Blog
    2022-06-30
Bipartisan Keep our Kids Fed Act will extend certain child nutrition flexibilities currently set to expire on June 30 New legislation would help school and summer meal programs cope with supply chain disruptions and rising food prices Counties support federal efforts to ensure children have access to healthy meals at school and during the summer months

Update: On June 25, President Biden signed H.R. 8150 as amended by the U.S. Senate into law. Notably, the final version of the measure omits a provision that would have allowed children in the reduced-price meal category to qualify for free meals for the FY 2022-FY 2023 school year. 

On June 21, Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) introduced the bipartisan Keep Kids Fed Act (H.R. 8150) to extend certain federal child nutrition flexibilities currently set to expire on June 30. Though the legislation would not extend all existing child nutrition waivers authorized under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on April 20, 2021, it will take steps to ensure children continue to access healthy, affordable meals at school, child care and summer sites in the midst of supply chain disruptions and rising operational costs.  

Child nutrition program flexibilities have assisted schools and other providers with managing the increased costs associated with pandemic-related operational and supply chain disruptions by increasing reimbursement rates, allowing schools to substitute food products and other nutrition components, and eliminating various income eligibility and paperwork requirements. Without continued program flexibilities, schools, child care providers and summer meal sites will face significant barriers in providing children with enough healthy food.  

To avoid these disruptions, the Keep Kids Fed Act would extend USDA waivers through the summer to allow meal deliveries and grab-and-go options for students. Throughout the 2022-2023 school year, the bill would also extend supply chain flexibilities, increase reimbursement rates within child care food programs and school meals programs. It would not, however, extend the existing flexibility allowing schools to waive application and eligibility determination requirements for free and reduced price school meals. The Keep Kid Feds Act is estimated to cost $3 billion but will be fully paid for with unspent funds from USDA, the U.S. Department of Education and the Small Business Administration (SBA).  

Counties support federal action to ensure children have access to healthy food at school and during the summer months and to help federal nutrition programs weather supply chain disruptions, in workforce shortages and other operational challenges. Though the role of county governments in administering, operating and funding child nutrition programs varies, these programs support key county priorities such as improving early child development, combatting food insecurity and preventing child poverty. NACo urges Congress to swiftly pass the Keep Kids Fed Act and will continue to monitor action on this issue. 

Access the full text of the Keep Kids Fed Act here.  

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