Statement attributed to Luis Guardia, president, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)
WASHINGTON, May 13, 2020 — The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) applauds the introduction of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, also known as the HEROES Act, H.R. 6800 (116). FRAC commends Speaker Nancy Pelosi for crafting a bill that will boost funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $10 billion and child nutrition programs by $3 billion, among other food assistance provisions, and make additional investments designed to address hardship and provide much needed economic stimulus now.
The comprehensive package addresses the twin challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. It increases nutrition assistance to children who do not have access to food due to COVID-19 school closures, older adults struggling to put food on the table, parents facing unemployment, among others. The package also invests in SNAP, state, local, territorial and tribal aid, additional direct payments to individuals, and other proven countercyclical tools. Indeed, each $1 in SNAP benefits generates between $1.50 and $1.80 in economic activity.
The comprehensive package will go a long way to both stabilize the economy and provide direct assistance to individuals and families through proven programs. The bill provides significant relief for struggling individuals and families, including the anti-hunger community’s three key SNAP priorities:
- Boost SNAP maximum benefits by 15 percent (provision expires September 30, 2021),
- Increase minimum monthly SNAP benefit from $16 to $30, and
- Suspend certain SNAP administrative rules that would terminate or weaken benefits.
FRAC urges Congress to go farther and extend SNAP maximum benefits beyond the bill’s provisional date in order to reduce hunger and undernutrition in the U.S. and provide even greater economic stimulus.
The bill also supports mothers by providing an additional $1.1 billion to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) program, which will provide access to nutritious foods to low-income pregnant women or mothers with young children.
Additional emergency financial relief is provided through the Child and Adult Care Food Program to child care providers, and through the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs to school nutrition departments. The bill also provides much-needed support to strained local food banks and emergency food providers.
FRAC encourages swift passage of the HEROES Act in the House and urges the Senate to retain the critical provisions that will provide assistance to struggling individuals and families. The relief provided in the HEROES Act is urgently needed and cannot come soon enough.
For 50 years, the Food Research & Action Center has been the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.