Democratic lawmakers want the Department of Agriculture to reverse a decision to provide meals to students throughout the entire school year. Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat and member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, states, “The Department’s refusal to extend all school meal waivers is inconsistent and baffling during this national crisis.” In the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Congress granted authority to the USDA to issue waivers so schools and community sponsors could provide school meals to children during the COVID-19 pandemic. USDA has stopped short of extending all available flexibilities that keep children fed while schools are closed and also reduce administrative burdens for schools. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on August 14, Stabenow urged USDA to take action and use its full authority to provide healthy meals to students for the duration of the school year. Secretary Perdue responded on August 20 and refused to extend waivers that allowed states and schools to more seamlessly operate through the emergency summer meal programs.
NAFB News Service