February 8, 2022

If you, like me, have found yourself struggling to fully grasp the current slate of pending legislation in our nation’s capital during this midterm election year, you have come to the right place. FRAC has a variety of resources to help you make sense of key legislation. Critical legislation relevant to the anti-hunger and anti-poverty community remains at the forefront of conversations in 2022.

There are four big legislative items you should know about at this current juncture. Together, these vehicles for potentially progressive policy present historic opportunities to eradicate poverty-related hunger in the United States. Knowing how key legislation affects federal food and nutrition programs, individually and together, is essential  as advocates push to make the most of 2022.

APPROPRIATIONS (FISCAL YEAR 2022) (annual spending)

  • Duration — Annually, October 1 – September 30.
    • The current continuing resolution (CR) will expire on February 18, 2022. If passed, an omnibus appropriations bill would set federal funding levels through the remainder of the 2022 Fiscal Year , which ends on September 30, 2022.
  • Committee Jurisdiction
  • Relevant Programs — All programs. Funds authorized via CNR, the Farm Bill, etc. must be allocated and approved through the appropriations process.
  • Timeline — Likely in March 2022 after the probable passage of another brief continuing resolution. At the time of publication, the House was considering H.R. 6617, a bipartisan and bicameral agreement to extend government funding through March 11.

At this time, agreement on FY 2022 funding levels has remained elusive for four months beyond FY 2021 funding. Subsequently, the federal government, via two (soon-to-be three) consecutive continuing resolutions, continues to operate under spending levels set during the Trump Administration. The Congressional Research Service continuously tracks the status of all twelve spending bills that annually fund the federal government.

It is paramount that Congress acts now to pass an omnibus appropriations bill that sufficiently funds crucial programs.  As agreement draws near, advocates are encouraged to review FRAC’s analysis of differences between FY 2021 funding levels and the House-passed and Senate-proposed agriculture appropriations bills. FRAC and its partners will continue to call for an extension to USDA’s school meal waiver authority as a part of the appropriations process.

BUILD BACK BETTER (BBB) ACT (budget reconciliation)

  • Duration — As a piece of legislation unique to the Biden Administration and the 117th Congress, provisions and programs in BBB could range in duration from months to decades.
  • Committee Jurisdiction
  • Relevant Programs — School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Summer-EBT
  • Timeline — Tentatively before May 2022

The January FRAC Advocate noted that President Biden conceded that the proposal likely will have to be scaled back on account of the bill currently lacking the 50 votes necessary to pass the Senate. The negotiations will continue this month as senators consider the climate and social spending provisions within the bill. It remains critical that the various child nutrition provisions, the Child Tax Credit expansions, among others, make it into the final bill.

As the most visible and sizable piece of legislation discussed in the past year, BBB has been at the center of applause and action—and will continue to be as long as it takes to pass and secure the Act’s critical next steps in addressing the alarming rates of childhood hunger and poverty in the United States.  Review the unique opportunities and limitations of Build Back Better as a budget reconciliation bill.


  • Duration — Reviewed and renewed approximately every five years. The authorization of the last CNR bill expired on September 30, 2015.
  • Committee Jurisdiction
  • Relevant Programs — School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Summer Food Service Program, Afterschool Meal Program, The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, Special Milk Program
  • Timeline — Tentatively before October 2022, though likely sooner; Passing a positive and impactful CNR bill before midterm elections this fall should be a priority for legislators and advocates.

As FRAC’s 2021 primer on Child Nutrition Reauthorization states, this legislation authorizes all of the federal school meal and child nutrition programs. It is a process, not undergone since the enactment of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, that “…provides an opportunity to improve and strengthen the child nutrition programs…,” (FRAC, 2021).

Many of the improvements proposed by legislators in the 117th Congress can be found in numerous “marker bills” featured on FRAC’s Bills We’re Supporting webpage. While rarely intended to pass alone, these bills garner support for various child nutrition priorities and can be packaged together in a Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill. Critically, any spending provisions in a CNR bill must be offset within the budget jurisdictions of the bicameral committees.

FARM BILL (2023)

  • Duration — Reviewed and renewed every five years. The current authorization will expire on September 30, 2023.
  • Committee Jurisdiction
  • Relevant Programs — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive, Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
  • Timeline — Beginning now, there will be discussions and hearings. Stakeholder analysis will be reviewed, and priorities will be determined throughout 2022, with more substantive negotiations likely to begin after the midterm elections in November.

Much like CNR, the Farm Bill provides an opportunity to review applicable programs, consider changes, and ideally address barriers to full implementation and participation. More than three-quarters of the funding authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill was earmarked for nutrition programs. Review FRAC’s 2017 Farm Bill Primer for a review of the process and what is at stake.

Resources: Tentative 2022 Senate Legislative Schedule, 2022 House Vote Schedule, FRAC’s Budget, Appropriations, & Anti-Poverty Policy Page, FRAC’s Resource Library, FRAC’s Legislative Action Center