Brown, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Extend School and Summer Meal Flexibilities for Ohio Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 1, 2022 – U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and 49 of their Senate colleagues introduced the Support Kids Not Red Tape Act.
The bill extends USDA school meal flexibilities from June 30, 2022 to September 30, 2023. These flexibilities have been crucial to feeding children throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With 90% of our schools still facing many challenges as they return to normal operations, these flexibilities give our schools and summer meal programs much-needed support to deal with ongoing food service issues and keep kids fed. The bill will also help schools transition back to normal meal operations under the National School Lunch Program. USDA requested this authority be extended in the omnibus.
“Ohio families need to know the end of the school year doesn’t mean an end to healthy meals for their children, and local communities know best how to support their students,” said Brown. “This will give local Ohio schools the flexibility they need, support our local summer feeding programs, and make it easier for Ohio kids and their families to access healthy lunch and snacks throughout the year.”
In addition to Sens. Brown, Stabenow, and Murkowski, this legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tina Smith (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tom Carper (D-DE), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Angus King (I-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).
Last month, Brown sent a letter to Senate leadership urging them to extend USDA’s waiver authority in the spending package to make sure school administrators, staff, and industry partners that supply food to child nutrition programs have continued support from the USDA.
In June 2021, Brown introduced bipartisan legislation that would make summer meals for kids more accessible during the months when schools are closed, while also highlighting the importance of current summer food programs for children in Ohio.
In April 2021, Brown and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) reintroduced their Kids Eat Local Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill to support local and regional food systems and encourage healthy meal choices among school-aged children.
Anti-hunger and nutrition advocates reiterated the importance of these flexibilities and applauded the Senators’ bill to keep critical flexibilities for school nutrition programs to feed children.