The U.S. House of Representatives today approved the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307) by a bipartisan vote 264 to 157.
"This bill will provide nutritious food to millions of low-income children," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks that provides food and groceries to more than 37 million Americans annually, including 14 million children.
"We know that lack of adequate nutrition can have devastating consequences on a child's development, so we are thrilled that Congress has stepped forward to help rescue so many young lives that are at risk. We are especially grateful to Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (CA-7) for his leadership in steering the child nutrition bill to final passage," Escarra said.
This important legislation provides $4.5 billion in new funding over the next 10 years to improve children's access to healthy meals. By improving access to programs, especially during out-of-school times, the legislation will help close the hunger gap on weekends, afterschool, and during the summer.
During the last two years, the Feeding America network has worked to secure the strongest possible child nutrition bill for our nation's children. Member food banks and advocates generated more than 50,000 emails to our nation's leaders in support of the bill. Feeding America held dozens of meetings with Congress to encourage support of the child nutrition bill.
Escarra also reaffirmed Feeding America's commitment to continue working with Congressional leaders and the Administration to replace the SNAP offset used to partially pay for the bill. The President has made a commitment to restoring the cut to future SNAP benefits before they are scheduled to go into effect in 2013.
"The recent USDA numbers on food insecurity released earlier this year prove that SNAP benefits are keeping millions of Americans from going hungry. We must all work together to ensure that SNAP remains funded at the highest possible levels," Escarra said.
The bill was passed unanimously by the Senate on August 5. The legislation must now be sent to the President for his signature before becoming law.
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