WASHINGTON (December 23, 2022) The Alliance to End Hunger applauds the passage of the FY 23 Omnibus spending bill in Congress today. The legislation includes important domestic child nutrition provisions and global food security funding; however, significant legislative action will also need to be considered as the new Congress begins its session.
The spending package includes legislation that could significantly decrease childhood hunger during summer months. Chief among relevant provisions is the establishment of a permanent Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer program (EBT) and increased “non-congregate” summer meal access for kids in rural and hard to reach communities. Historically, many kids who are eligible for free and reduced school meals during the school year have a difficult time accessing the food they need during summer months when school is closed. Expanding access to summer meals and a summer EBT program have been chief priorities for the Alliance to End Hunger and its broad coalition.
While this is a major win for millions of children, there were still important child nutrition priorities that were not included, such as proposals to modernize the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
“We are encouraged by the inclusion of crucial child nutrition programs in the omnibus bill,” stated Eric Mitchell, Executive Director of the Alliance to End Hunger. “Ensuring kids have the nutrition they need throughout the year is a priority. However, there is still work to be done. Child Nutrition Reauthorization is years overdue, and additional programs to address child hunger – such as the modernizing and expanding WIC – will be critical in the upcoming Congress. We must also continue to work with other populations – including older Americans – to ensure broader nutritional access to individuals and families who have struggled through the pandemic and beyond.”
Global food security and nutrition are also of interest to the Alliance to End Hunger. Title II – Food for Peace and the McGovern-Dole Food for Education programs attained modest funding increases, while Global Food Security and International Disaster Assistance remained flat from FY22. As the world continues to deal with the fallout from COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, and deepening climate impacts, the Alliance hopes to work with Congress to ensure these programs receive the funding they need moving forward.
“At the end of the day, having a comprehensive bill that funds the government through the end of the fiscal year is better than not having one at all,” stated Mitchell. “But we know there is a lot more to do. Now we focus on critical upcoming legislation such as the Farm Bill, and we must continue to push for hunger and nutrition as key pillars of the U.S.’s domestic and global policy agenda.”