Scott Calls for Extension of Pandemic Food Assistance Program

July 31, 2020
Press Release

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) released the following statement calling for the extension of the Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) program, which provides additional funding for struggling families with children who cannot access free or reduced-price school meals due to school closures. Yesterday, a Brookings Institution study found that P-EBT, which Congress passed under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, prevented at least 2.7 million children from going hungry in the week after states issued benefits, reducing child hunger by 30 percent. Benefits will expire in most states in August. 

“The Brookings Institution study confirms that the Pandemic-EBT program prevented millions of children from going hungry over the last several months. It also reveals the scale of suffering that children and families across this country will experience if Senate Republicans fail to extend this program. 

“In March, as schools across the country shifted to remote learning, Congress recognized that providing families additional food assistance through P-EBT was critical to preventing child hunger. With coronavirus cases now fivefold higher than in March, the need for this program is even greater today. More than two months ago, the House passed the Heroes Act, which extended P-EBT until it is safe for schools to physically reopen. 

“Some of my Republican colleagues oppose any new COVID-19 relief, arguing that it amounts to ‘stealing from our children and grandchildren.’ But our children and grandchildren are going hungry today. We are in the middle of an immediate and worsening child hunger crisis. If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell believes we can afford a tax break for three-martini lunches – which was included in the Republican HEALS Act proposal – certainly he agrees we can afford to prevent child hunger by extending P-EBT.”

###