House Dems push legislation to keep serving school lunch even when schools close

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and more than two dozen House Democrats proposed legislation this week that would allow schools to continue serving free and subsidized meals even during school labor strikes, natural disasters, public health emergencies or other events that temporarily lead to school closures. Democrats have championed the school lunch program, which started at the end of World War II, as a way to ensure basic nutritional needs are met for low-income children. School breakfast was introduced in the 1960s, and the Department of Agriculture already runs a “Summer Meals for Kids” program that gives kids access to school meals even when schools are closed for the summer break. The new bill from Omar is looking to ensure free and subsidized meals are available during unscheduled disruptions. She cited recent extreme weather in Minnesota and labor strikes in other states that closed schools as reasons why the bill is needed. USDA HOPES $50M CAN MAKE SCHOOL LUNCH MORE ‘APPETIZING,’ ‘APPEALING’ “The increase in extreme weather events in my home state of Minnesota this winter makes it more important than ever that we feed our kids — even if school is closed,” Omar said in a statement. “And as someone who believes in the power of organized labor and the right to strike, I also understand the importance of supporting workers and their families during these challenging times.” Another sponsor of the bill, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said labor strikes in his state are another reason to take steps to ensure school meals can still be distributed when schools close. “Thirty million students in America depend on meals provided to them at school. Without those school meals, they would often go hungry – something no child should have to experience,” Schiff said in a statement. BIDEN ADMIN HOLDING SCHOOL LUNCH MONEY ‘HOSTAGE’ TO FORCE TRANSGENDER POLICIES, ACTIVIST PARENT SAYS “Unfortunately, when schools temporarily close, like they did in my district during the pandemic and a recent strike, students are left without their source of daily nutrition and fuel for the brain,” he added. The bill would allow continued meal service to needy students by expanding USDA’s authority to grant waivers from certain federal rules to states and service providers so they can keep serving meals to kids during unexpected closures. USDA already has some authority to grant these kinds waivers – during the COVID pandemic, for example, USDA granted waivers that allowed closed schools to keep serving meals and allowed parents to pick up several meals at once from schools. Supporters of the bill say COVID showed the importance of school meals to millions of families. SOUTH DAKOTA GOVERNOR BLASTS BIDEN, VILSACK TYING SCHOOL LUNCH FUNDING TO TRANSGENDER, LGBT POLICY “Childhood hunger in this country spiked dramatically as a result of the public health and economic fallout of COVID-19, but things would have been far worse if not for child nutrition waivers that allowed all children to receive school meals at no charge,” said Food Research & Action Center President Luis Guardia. “We urge Congress to build on this success by enacting this critical legislation.” CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP Omar’s bill would allow similar waivers when labor disputes, weather and natural disasters, unsafe facilities, construction or “any unanticipated event” ends up closing a school, according to a description of the legislation.
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