Cantwell Joins Bipartisan Group of Senators to Introduce Legislation Aiming to Combat Food Insecurity in Schools

WASHINGTON, DC –U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined Senators Heinrich (D-NM) and Stabenow (D-MI) and a bipartisan group of 47 senators in introducing the Support Kids Not Red Tape Act which would extend USDA meal flexibilities to allow children to receive critical food assistance during the summer.

The bill extends the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) school meal flexibilities from June 30, 2022 to September 30, 2023. These flexibilities have been crucial to feeding children throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With 90% of our schools still facing many challenges as they return to normal operations, these flexibilities give our schools and summer meal programs much-needed support to deal with ongoing food service issues and keep kids fed. The bill will also help schools transition back to normal meal operations under the National School Lunch Program. USDA requested this authority be extended in the Omnibus Appropriations Agreement.

Senator Cantwell has been an outspoken supporter of school lunch programs and their importance to students and their community at large. This March, Cantwell secured essential funding for programs to help food-insecure families in the Olympic Peninsula by expanding the Port Angeles Food Bank, which supports 13 other food banks in the region.

During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cantwell helped pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that included funding for continuing school lunch programs. These programs have been an essential source of food security for many children not only during the pandemic, but on a daily basis.

The text of the Senate bill is available here.

In addition to Senators Cantwell (D-WA), Heinrich (D-NM) and Stabenow (D-MI), this legislation is cosponsored by 47 members of Congress including U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Casey (D-PA) Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tina Smith (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tom Carper (D-DE), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Angus King (I-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).