Scott Praises Biden Plan to Increase Food Assistance During Pandemic

January 22, 2021
Press Release

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC  Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) released the following statement after the Biden administration announced a plan to increase benefits under the Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) program by 15 percent. The program provides additional funding for struggling families with children who cannot access free or reduced-price school meals due to school closures.

"The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has created a devastating nationwide hunger crisis that is affecting one in eight Americans. In response, Congress created the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program — or P-EBT – to provide families with emergency food assistance during the pandemic. Although the program and other anti-hunger initiatives have been a needed lifeline for children and families, they have not been sufficient to meet the unprecedented surge in food insecurity. Unfortunately, these nutrition assistance programs were often hampered by the previous administration’s reluctance to use its full authority address the hunger crisis. 

“I am pleased that President Biden is committed to do everything in his power to end this hunger crisis, and I look forward to further guidance from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) on how states can quickly and efficiently issue additional food assistance to children and families across the country. It is a relief to finally have an administration that understands the depth of this hunger crisis and accepts responsibility for protecting the health and well-being of all Americans.” 

Over the past year, the Committee has helped pass several initiatives to provide emergency assistance to individuals and families throughout the pandemic, including. 

  • Establishing a Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) program that provides families emergency food assistance in the event of prolonged school closures. 
     
  • Granting the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), states, and schools greater flexibility to enact emergency measures to provide students with nutritious food. 
     
  • Granting USDA authority to approve state waivers for school meal plans that increase costs to the federal government, which has allowed states to explore options such as meal delivery or transportation to get food in the hands of students.
  • Streamlining access to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) by allowing individuals to access WIC services remotely instead of endangering their health by visiting a health facility. 
  • Providing emergency relief to help school meal and child and adult care food programs, which are in dire need of financial assistance, to continue serving children and families. 

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