Scott: USDA Refusal to Extend Waivers Will Increase Child Hunger
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Chairman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement in response to a letter from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue stating that the Department will not extend waivers that allowed states and schools to more seamlessly operate emergency summer meal programs. The waivers – which expire at the end of August – allow schools to locate food service sites in more accessible locations and serve all children, regardless of paperwork.
“The Administration’s refusal to continue providing schools the flexibility they need to more easily serve hungry children and struggling families is irresponsible. The expiring waivers have allowed schools to set up meal sites in convenient places around their communities and serve all children seeking a meal, which has been critical as schools struggle to reopen safely.
“Unfortunately, as a result of this decision, schools will face new restrictions this school year on where they can serve meals. Even worse, if students and families have not received and completed the proper paperwork – or do not come to their assigned location – schools will be forced to start turning them away.
“Congress specifically gave the Administration broad authority to waive limitations on school meals and empower school meal programs during this difficult time. There is no question that the Administration has the power to support struggling families by extending these waivers through the next school year.
“The stakes of this decision could not be higher. A recent analysis shows that as many as 17 million children did not have enough to eat this summer. If USDA refuses to extend these waivers, the tragic rise in child hunger across the country will surely get worse.”