WASHINGTON – Today, House Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (D-MA) joined Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) in introducing the Ensuring Emergency Food Security Act, new legislation to combat the economic impacts of the coronavirus by:
• Temporarily increasing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits;
• Blocking any funding from being used to implement Trump administration rules that would narrow eligibility for food assistance programs;
• Suspending work requirement time limits for SNAP benefits; and,
• Expanding the food distribution program on Indian reservations.
“I’m very concerned that the coronavirus outbreak could put a major strain on families who are already struggling to put food on the table,” said Congressman McGovern. “The majority of SNAP recipients who are able to work do work, but they make so little that they still qualify for benefits. If they are being told to stay home for weeks at a time, this outbreak could seriously impact their access to food, leaving them hungry and with nowhere else to turn. In times of uncertainty and crisis, Congress needs to step up and guarantee that nobody in our country is left behind or left out. I’m proud to join Congresswoman DeLauro and our colleagues to introduce this urgent measure to prevent hunger from getting worse as our nation responds to the coronavirus.”
“The coronavirus outbreak is already having a significant effect on children and families, and our federal government needs to step up to help them immediately,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “Public officials are telling people to stock up on food for up to two weeks—but how exactly are our most vulnerable families supposed to do that? Too often, people who are living paycheck-to-paycheck are forgotten, and it is exactly at times like these that we must be thinking about them and doing everything we can to help them. That is why I am proud to introduce this emergency legislation with my House Democratic colleagues to ensure children and families a crucial measure of economic security.”
McGovern and DeLauro were also joined by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01), Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (ME-01), and Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02).
“As the coronavirus continues to spread, we must make sure everyone, especially low-income families, have access to nutrition assistance benefits,” said Congresswoman Lee. “No family in the richest nation on earth should ever have to go hungry. This important legislation will ensure that not only are benefits increased, but that the harmful Trump administration’s expanded work requirements rule cannot go into effect. As a former food stamps recipient, I know how important programs like SNAP are during troubled times – and now is the time to expand access, not restrict it. This bill will ensure that our communities’ needs are still being met in a robust way.”
“The onset of COVID-19 has already revealed serious cracks in our system - from SNAP benefit levels that do not allow families to prepare for unforeseen circumstances, to schools unable to close because of the sheer number of students who rely on them for a hot meal,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “We need to ensure Connecticut residents have the resources they need to keep food on their shelves, keep their children fed, and stay safe and healthy.”
“No family should have to worry about getting food because they’re sick and can’t go to work, but right now workers in our country are struggling to make ends meet because coronavirus is impacting work schedules and incomes,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Vice Chair on Families and Children Living in Poverty for the Majority Leader Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. “That’s why we’re introducing an emergency bill to make sure folks can feed their families during this public health crisis and prevent further unnecessary food insecurity,”
“Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, the Trump administration’s extreme SNAP rule changes threatened the well-being of millions of Americans, but now that we’re in a public health crisis it’s even more urgent that this Administration halt its plans to steal low-income food assistance from the nation’s most vulnerable,” said Congresswoman Pingree. “Today I am cosponsoring this emergency bill to stop this Administration from endangering the food security of millions of Americans especially as the risk of contracting coronavirus rises nationwide.”
“During this public health crisis, it is imperative that we protect those who need our help the most,” said Congressman Pocan. “Pandemics like coronavirus expose the cracks in our nation’s social safety nets and remind us how much more we need to invest in low-income communities. America’s most vulnerable populations are worried about missing paychecks and affording food for their children, and it’s time Congress take action to ease that burden. No family should have to choose between a paycheck and their health—during a national crisis or ever.”