April 01, 2022

Manchin Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Extend Meal Flexibilities, Support Child Nutrition In Schools

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) led a group of 52 bipartisan Senators in introducing the bipartisan Support Kids Not Red Tape Act. The bill would extend U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) school meal flexibilities, which have been crucial in ensuring that every school-aged child receives the nutritious food that they need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The bipartisan legislation would extend the flexibilities for an additional two summers and the 2022-2023 school year to give schools and families time to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic while transitioning back to normal meal operations.

“For many West Virginia families and children struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, school meals may be the only healthy and regular meals they receive. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed how schools distributed meals to their students and the waivers have been key in allowing our schools to continue serving our students, no matter where they are learning. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill, and I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join our legislation to ensure every child across the country has the adequate, nutritious food they deserve,” said Senator Manchin.

Senator Manchin was joined by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tina Smith (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tom Carper (D-DE), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Angus King (I-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

A broad spectrum of groups sent letters to Congress urging the extension of the meal flexibilities. The groups included nearly 2,000 anti-hunger, nutrition, education, children’s, school, preschool, out of school providers, faith groups, industry groups, and others from all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Anti-hunger and nutrition advocates have reiterated the importance of the meal flexibilities and applauded Senator Manchin’s bill to keep the critical support in place. 

The full text of the bill can be found here.