Rep. Tlaib, House Members Urge USDA to Immediately Extend COVID-19 Waivers
WASHINGTON – Today, Agriculture Committee Vice Chair Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (NC-12) sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, cosigned by 72 members of the House of Representatives, urging the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to immediately extend COVID-19 waivers for WIC and child nutrition programs and to provide additional information for states on when CR-SNAP emergency allotments and SNAP wavers will be extended.
"COVID-19 is causing massive disruption, uncertainty, and anxiety throughout the nation," wrote Congresswoman Adams. "Unfortunately, the more than 37 million people in America who struggle with hunger are among those impacted the most. Our federal nutrition programs serve a critical role in easing hunger and food insecurity and are particularly crucial during times of crisis."
"The extension of these waivers and of CR-SNAP supplemental allotments will provide much needed certainty for the agencies and individuals working on the ground to get the children, parents, veterans, seniors, and disabled individuals who depend on these programs to put food on their tables," Adams concluded.
Due to the outsized impact of COVID-19 on Americans struggling with food insecurity, H.R.6201, the Families First Coronavirus Act, gave USDA the authority to issue child nutrition program and WIC waivers through September 30, 2020 to provide the flexibility needed to reach those in need during the outbreak. However, USDA’s most of waivers for these programs currently end on June 30, 2020 (child nutrition programs) or May 31, 2020 (WIC).
Additionally, H.R.6201 allows USDA to issue waivers for SNAP through the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in states that have issued a COVID-related emergency or disaster declaration. However, currently, states are currently limited to two months of CR-SNAP emergency allotments with some state’s allotments ending this month. Adams' letter addresses this urgent issue by asking the USDA to extend these waivers to ensure food assistance is available for families affected by COVID-19.
Adams is joined on the letter by 72 members of the House of Representatives, including Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee Chair Suzanne Bonamici, Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations Subcommittee Chair Marcia L. Fudge, Abigail D. Spanberger, Adam B. Schiff, Adam Smith, Adriano Espaillat, Al Green, Al Lawson, Albio Sires, Alcee L. Hastings, André Carson, Anna G. Eshoo, Anthony G. Brown, Barbara Lee, Bennie G. Thompson, Bill Foster, Bobby L. Rush, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Brenda L. Lawrence, Cedric L. Richmond, Chellie Pingree, Danny K. Davis, Darren Soto, David N. Cicilline, David Price, David Scott, David Trone, Deb Haaland, Deb Haaland, Debbie Dingell, Ed Perlmutter, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Frank Pallone, Jr., Frederica S. Wilson, G. K. Butterfield, Grace F. Napolitano, Grace Meng, Gwen Moore, Jackie Speier, Jahana Hayes, James P. McGovern, James R. Langevin, Jan Schakowsky, Jerry McNerney, Jesús G. "Chuy" García, Jimmy Panetta, Joseph P. Kennedy, III, Joyce Beatty, Juan Vargas, Kim Schrier, M.D., Linda T. Sánchez, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Marcy Kaptur, Mary Gay Scanlon, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Nydia M. Velázquez, Peter A. DeFazio, Peter Welch, Pramila Jayapal, Rashida Tlaib, Salud O. Carbajal, Sean Patrick Maloney, Seth Moulton, Sheila Jackson Lee, Stephen F. Lynch, Steve Cohen, Sylvia R. Garcia, Ted W. Lieu, Tulsi Gabbard, William R. Keating, and Yvette D. Clarke.