Statement of CSPI Deputy Director of Federal Affairs Colin Schwartz
The Senate missed the opportunity today to ensure millions of kids receive healthy school meals. In passing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, monumental legislation that will primarily reduce health insurance and Medicare prescription drug costs and tackle the climate crisis, it stripped the bill of an extension of free school meals and additional food assistance for children during the summer.
The bill disappointingly does not include key child nutrition provisions included in the House-passed Build Back Better Act last year. That legislation included $250 million for healthier school meals, expansions of free school meals for 9 million children in higher-poverty schools, additional food assistance through the Summer EBT program for 21 million children, and $30 million in kitchen equipment.
The bill also did not include an extension of free school meals through next school year, as contained in the bipartisan Support Kids Not Red Tape Act, legislation backed by 51 Senators.
These investments in school meals are critical to reduce nutrition and food insecurity and mitigate a hunger cliff that many children may face as they return to school and the meal program lapses.
We urge Congress to do right by the 30 million children who rely on school meals and add these important investments back into the bill, making sure our kids get the healthy meals they need to learn, grow, and thrive.
Contact Info: Contact: Jeff Cronin