Representatives Hayes And Neguse Introduce Legislation To Protect Access To Food For Children And Families During Pandemic

April 3, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Representative Jahana Hayes (CT-05) and Representative Joe Neguse (CO-02) introduced the Food Assistance for Kids and Families During COVID-19 Act of 2020. The bill would protect access to food for children and families across the United States by easing administrative barriers for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children ( WIC); and The Emergency Feeding Assistance Program (TEFAP).  Senator Bob Casey (PA) introduced the companion legislation in the Senate.

“Widespread food insecurity has long been a reality for American families and the outbreak of COVID-19 has compounded the their struggles,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “It is essential that Congress enable states to connect people to nutritious food while they shelter in place to mitigate the spread of the virus. The Food Assistance for Kids and Families During COVID-19 Act empowers states to protect citizens by temporarily waiving several administrative barriers and authorizing $500 million for food delivery to SNAP recipients. During this critical time, we must be mindful of the economic pressures that families face. I will continue to bring access to healthy food to the forefront of any conversation on COVID-19 response.”

“Given Congress’s expanded emergency funding of SNAP and WIC throughout this public health emergency and the economic uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is imperative that we adapt the rules of these benefits to meet the pressing realities of our time,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “We must ensure families across Colorado who depend on food security offered through these programs can continue to feed their families without violating social distancing protocols or Colorado’s “Stay-at-home” order.”

Specifically, the Food Assistance for Kids and Families During COVID-19 Act will:

  • Improve access to SNAP delivery by:
    • Notifying retailers of the existing opportunities through which they can deliver groceries to SNAP participants. This process could be done by allowing the EBT card to be swiped either at the point of home delivery (with a mobile device) or when the order is picked up at the store. The card would need to be obtained from the card holder at home prior to pick-up.
    • Authorizing public-private partnerships between USDA and authorized SNAP retailers to support grocery delivery during the emergency.
    • Providing $500 million in funding through state agencies to reimburse retailers for grocery delivery fees for SNAP participants.
  • Extend certification periods for WIC.
  • Provide flexibilities for TEFAP by waiving administrative requirements to enable the safest and most efficient delivery of food aid to all who need it during an emergency.

####

Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public-school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.

Currently serving her first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.