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Council for a Strong America Applauds Bold Congressional Action in Response to COVID-19
Congress has a golden opportunity to act quickly to help preserve and expand key programs for families in the face of a health crisis
Council for a Strong America (CSA) commends Congress for its timely, bipartisan passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. As of today, March 18, the Senate has passed its version of the bill, following the House of Representatives’ final passage on Monday.
This bold action by Congress is an important and timely step as our nation adjusts to and addresses the COVID-19 health crisis. The bill will achieve several urgent goals, including testing for COVID-19 and protecting public health workers.
Moreover, we’re grateful that the bill will begin to address some of the unfortunate collateral damage caused by COVID-19. We’re especially pleased to see that some of those provisions of the bill will help preserve access to fresh and nutritious foods for our nation’s youngest generation.
Specifically, the bill will allow states to continue programs for school breakfast and lunch, daycare meals, and summer food during school closures. It will also allow families who aren’t currently using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but whose children receive free and reduced price lunches, to receive food benefits as well. The bill increases SNAP benefits for families to purchase food for their children.
Furthermore, the bill increases funding for families eligible for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) by $500 million, which will allow states to increase food package allowances.
Finally, it increases monies for food pantries to buy USDA commodities by approximately $400 million and provides assistance in administering and distributing the additional food supply.
These aspects of the bill are especially relevant to the families and children who are a key focus of much of the work that CSA does. In particular, we’re very pleased to see the bill target the portion of the population most likely to feel an immediate, significant economic and nutritional impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
We appreciate the rapid and bold response by the House and Senate to address this pressing health emergency, including the secondary effects that nonetheless have the potential to affect the lives of thousands of Americans.
We once again thank Congress and the USDA, and we encourage them to continue to be vigilant and attentive to the needs of at-risk populations, especially vulnerable children.
Council for a Strong America is a national, bipartisan nonprofit that unites five organizations comprised of law enforcement leaders, retired admirals and generals, business executives, pastors, and prominent coaches and athletes who promote evidence-based solutions that ensure our next generation of Americans will be successful, productive members of society.