Alliance to End Hunger Alarmed by Latest Senate COVID-19 Response Bill

July 28, 2020

Washington, D.C., July 28, 2020 — The Alliance to End Hunger is deeply disappointed by the latest Senate COVID-19 response bill, and its wholly inadequate response to rising food insecurity in the United States and around the world due to the pandemic. The supplemental funding bill, released by the U.S. Senate on Monday, failed to adopt recommendations made by the Alliance to End Hunger and the broader anti-hunger communities focused on both domestic and global food insecurity.

“With the number of hungry people in the U.S. and around the world skyrocketing, our nation’s policymakers have been confronted with the choice of whether or not to help the most vulnerable populations affected by this pandemic,” stated Interim Executive Director Asma Lateef. “Unfortunately, it appears key individuals in the Senate have chosen not to act.”

Domestically, the Alliance and a coalition of nearly 2,500 anti-hunger organizations have called for a 15% boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) in response to the COVID-19 crisis, as well as an increase in the minimum benefit from $16 to $30 and a cessation of administrative rules decreasing eligibility and benefits for hungry individuals and families.  These recommendations are not reflected in the bill.

Internationally, the global relief and development community is bracing for an unprecedented hunger emergency.  U.S. humanitarian, health and development non-governmental organizations are calling on the U.S. government to invest $20 billion, plus $2 billion for food security and nutrition, as part of the COVID-19 Response.  While the Senate bill provides some funding for the COVID-related health interventions, it provides no funding to address the economic and food security impact of the crisis that threatens to reverse decades of progress on child survival, extreme poverty and hunger.

“There is a lot of work to do on this legislation,” stated Executive Director Emeritus Tony Hall. “As legislators start negotiating specifics, we hope they will recognize that the failure to stem the rise in hunger and malnutrition is shortsighted and will lead to untold suffering and long-term costs to individuals, their families and communities and to economies.  On behalf of our broader Alliance network we urge legislators to support a bill that provides for poor and hungry people in desperate need in the U.S. and abroad.”