In Fight Against Hunger, McGovern Secures Historic White House Win

After Decades of Advocacy, Rules Chairman Praises President Biden’s Decision to Hold a White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health

WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman James P. McGovern (D-MA), Chairman of the House Rules Committee, issued this statement following an announcement from President Biden that he would convene the second ever White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, Hunger and Health this September:

“This is a historic moment in the fight against hunger. I’m proud of the nationwide, grassroots organization we built to secure this conference. I’m grateful to President Biden and his team for listening to us and understanding that a hunger-free future is within America’s reach. And most importantly, I’m incredibly inspired by the thousands of everyday people—nonprofit volunteers, tribal leaders, teachers, doctors, faith leaders, people with lived experiences, and so many others—who contributed their time and talent to build this movement. I look forward to working closely with President Biden, Vice President Harris, and their entire administration to make this a meaningful, substantive conference worthy of the serious issues we are addressing. Together, let us bring a diverse set of voices to the table, increase access to nutritious food in communities across the country, and end hunger once and for all.”

“Hunger, diet-related disease, and the disparities surrounding them impact millions of Americans, and the COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the urgency of addressing these issues. No one should have to wonder where their next meal will come from. We must take bold steps now – with government, the private sector, non-profits, and communities working together – to build a healthier future for every American,” said Ambassador Susan E. Rice, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.

About McGovern’s Role:

  • After decades spent leading the charge to end hunger in America—working at the local, state, and federal level to fight for change, build awareness, and push for legislation to address policy failures that have created food insecurity—Chairman McGovern announced last year he would build a nationwide grassroots movement calling on the White House to convene a policy conference focused on ending hunger once and for all.
  • Led a bipartisan bill requiring the White House to convene a Conference on Food, Nutrition, Hunger, and Health with Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Mike Braun (R-IN) and Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-IN).
  • In an unprecedented show of support, organized every Committee Chair in the House of Representatives in a letter calling on President Biden to convene a conference.

About the Conference

The first and only White House conference focused on hunger and nutrition was convened in 1969. That conference led to landmark legislation and nearly a decade of transformational progress in the fight to end hunger in America—spurring the creation and expansion of programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program. McGovern is pushing for a hunger conference for the 21 century that would take a whole-of-government approach to ending hunger America, which features more diverse voices and those with lived experience. 

Although new census data shows that recent actions have brought hunger in America to its lowest level since the pandemic began, returning to the pre-COVID status quo would leave tens of millions of people hungry in every congressional district in the nation. More than 35 million people, including 10 million children, were going hungry in America even before the COVID pandemic hit. Nonprofit groups estimate that hunger costs the United States over $160 billion each year in poor health outcomes, chronic disease, and lost productivity. The conference would bring together the heads of food banks, hospitals, government agencies, nonprofits, educators, individuals with lived experiences, and more, with the goal of crafting a real plan with benchmarks to end the hunger crisis by 2030, as the United Nations has called for. Leading up to the Conference, the Biden-Harris Administration will host listening sessions to hear from every region of the country.