Bills We’re Watching

All of the bills listed below were introduced in the 114th Congress (2015-2016).

Bills Related to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Closing the Meal Gap Act of 2016 (H.R.5215)
H.R.5215 – Introduced May 12th by Representative Alma Adams (D-NC) and eight original co-sponsors

What it does: Authorizes a SNAP Standard Excess Medical Deduction for persons who are elderly or have disabilities (with a minimum standard of $140); replaces the Thrifty Food Plan with the Low-Cost Food Plan as the basis for SNAP benefits; eliminates the cap on the SNAP Excess Shelter Deduction; raises the minimum SNAP benefit from $16 to $25 per month; and exempts jobless adults from SNAP time limits if the state does not provide them with a SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E & T) slot.

Cosponsors: H.R.5215

SNAP Work Opportunities and Veteran Protection Act of 2015 (S. 2420)
S. 2420 – Introduced December 17th by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

What it does: Preserves access to SNAP benefits for certain jobless able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) who are seeking work but who are not selected for a state job training or workfare program. Also exempts from time limits on their SNAP benefits military veterans who participate in a Veterans Affairs or State rehabilitation or employment program.

Cosponsors: S. 2420

SNAP Work Opportunities Act of 2015 (H.R. 1025)
H.R. 1025 – Introduced February 24th by Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA)

What it does: Preserves access to SNAP benefits for certain jobless able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) by exempting them from time limits on their SNAP benefits if they are not selected for a state job training or workfare program.

Cosponsors: H.R. 1025

Food Security Improvement Act of 2015 (H.R. 3657)
H.R. 3657- Introduced September 30th by Representative Theodore E. Deutch (D-FL)

What it does: Improves the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by requiring benefits to be calculated using the government’s Low-Cost Food Plan instead of the Thrifty Food Plan.

Cosponsors: H.R. 3657


Bills Related to the Child Nutrition Programs/ Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) 2016

Summer Nutrition Programs:

The Summer Meals Act of 2015 (S. 613, H.R. 1728)
S. 613 – Introduced February 27th by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) & Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
H.R. 1728 – Introduced March 26th by Representative Don Young (R-AK) & Rick Larsen (D-WA)

What it does: Enhances efforts to expand the reach of the Summer Food Program to low-income children and significantly simplify the administration of the program for sponsors.

Advocacy Resources: FRAC’s bill summary and State Maps demonstrating what improving the area eligibility test from 50 to 40 percent would mean for each state.

Organizational Endorsements: Endorsers of the Summer Meals Act (pdf).

The Stop Child Summer Hunger Act of 2015 (S. 1539, H.R. 2715)
S. 1539 – Introduced June 10th by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
H.R. 2715 – Introduced June 10th by Representative Susan Davis (D-CA)

What it does: Provides low-income families with children an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card, for the summer to purchase food. This bill would offer another food resource for low-income children in addition to the Summer Nutrition Programs. This bill is intended to provide an additional support for children during the summer months, and does not replace the existing Summer Nutrition Programs.

Advocacy Resource: FRAC’s bill summary.

Organizational Endorsements: Endorsers of the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act (pdf).


Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP):

The Access to Healthy Food for Young Children Act of 2015 (S. 1833)
S. 1833 Introduced July 22nd by Senator Robert Casey (D-PA)

What it does: Expands and strengthens the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) so more children have access to nutrition meals and snacks in child care centers, family day care homes, and afterschool programs.

Advocacy Resources: FRAC’s bill summary.

Organizational Endorsements: Endorsers of the Access to Healthy Food for Young Children (pdf).

The Early Childhood Nutrition Improvement Act (H.R. 3886)
Introduced November 3rd by Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY).

What it does: Expands and strengthens the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) so more children have access to nutritious meals and snacks in child care centers, family day care homes, and afterschool programs.

Advocacy Resources: FRAC’s bill summary.


School Meals:

The School Food Modernization Act of 2015 (S. 540/H.R. 3316)
S. 540 – Introduced February 24th by Senators Susan M. Collins (R-ME) & Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
H.R. 3316- Introduced July 29th by Representatives Lou Barletta (R-PA), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) & Chellie Pingree (D-ME)

What it does: Improves the ability of schools to serve nutritious and appealing food by helping schools to purchase kitchen equipment, as well as provide training and technical assistance to school food personnel.

Advocacy Resources: The PEW Charitable Trust’s bill summary 

Tribal Nutrition Improvement Act of 2015 (S. 1937/H.R. 3502)
S. 1937- Introduced August 4th by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)
H.R. 3502- Introduced September 11th by Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)

What it does: Improves access to free meals for Native students who attend school on or near a reservation and allows tribal governments to administer child nutrition programs.

Advocacy Resources: New Mexico Appleseed’s Bill Summary (pdf)

Improving School Nutrition Training Act (H.R. 3817)
H.R. 3817- Introduced October 23rd by Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) & Representative John Katko (R-NY)

What it does: Encourages professional trainings for school food service employees be conducted during regular work hours and ensures proper notification and compensation for after-hours professional trainings. This bill also safeguards food service employees from being penalized if he/she is unable to attend an after-hours training.

Resource: Representative Pocan’s Bill Summary (pdf)