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Additional Assistance—Without the Additional Cost

The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act (H.R. 5003) takes a number of positive steps to help ensure all children have access to healthy meals. Introduced by Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN), the bill contains commonsense reforms that will provide schools with greater flexibility and better target child nutrition assistance, while also ensuring the children currently eligible for assistance will remain eligible.

These reforms make it possible to provide more help to those children who need it most. In fact, the legislation will:

  • Provide children who live in rural and low-income areas with better access to nutritious meals during the summer. The Summer Food Service Program provides children with access to healthy meals when they are not in school. Under current law, food must be served at a designated site, which can be difficult to access for children who live in rural areas or lack transportation. H.R. 5003 will allow states to provide summer meals off-site to better meet the needs of children who are harder to reach.
  • Enhance support for low-income kids who need a healthy breakfast. For the first time in more than 25 years, the legislation raises the reimbursement rates for the school breakfast program. This will provide schools additional assistance to ensure no child starts the school day hungry.
  • Make it easier for providers to feed the kids they serve. Many nutrition assistance service providers participate in a number of child nutrition programs—including the Summer Food Service Program and a program providing meals after school to at-risk youth—but run into burdensome red tape in doing so. The bill will empower states to streamline and simplify the operations of these programs, allowing providers to more readily serve meals to low-income children.

These are all worthwhile investments that will make a positive difference in the lives of vulnerable children and families. But it gets even better: These reforms come at no additional cost to hardworking taxpayers. That’s right. By advancing other commonsense reforms that ensure we are targeting assistance to those who need help the most—like improving community eligibility and fighting waste, fraud, and abuse—H.R. 5003 makes critical investments without spending any additional taxpayer dollars.
As Chairman Rokita said just last week, “The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act allows schools to target assistance more effectively while increasing spending on children in actual need, all without adding to our nation’s debt problem.”
By better targeting our financial investments in nutrition assistance, the children and families most in need will have access to healthy meals. For more information on these reforms and other measures, click here.

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