Legislative Update, 12/22/2020

Late Monday night Congress passed a COVID-19 stimulus package totaling $900 billion. The stimulus package is part of a $2.3 trillion government spending bill. Thanks to our friends at Feeding America for summarizing the bill. Key components include:

  • 15% increase in SNAP benefits for 6 months (through June 30, 2021) for all SNAP participants. The bill also includes funding for nutrition grants for the territories and expanded online benefits, as well as waiving certain requirements for college student eligibility.
  • $5 million to add additional retailers to online SNAP, including for farmers markets and direct to consumer sales.
  • Provides colleges students access to SNAP.
  • Funding for school foodservice authorities and childcare institutions to help cover COVID-19 related emergency operational costs from March-June 2020 to make up for budget shortfalls due to low child nutrition program participation.
  • $400 million for food banks through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) with up to 20 percent for distribution of commodities.
  • $13 million for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) with up to 20 percent for State administrative expenses.
  • $175 million for nutrition services for seniors under the Older Americans Act, such as Meals on Wheels.
  • Improvement to Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) that will expand access to food benefits for children by allowing all children under age 6 to be deemed “enrolled” in child care, so they will be eligible for P-EBT benefits. The bill also clarifies what constitutes a “closure” making it easier to reach school-aged children with P-EBT assistance when schools are shifting between in-person, virtual and hybrid schooling.
  • $1.5 billion to fund purchases of food for distribution to people in need.
  • $400 million for a Dairy Product Donation Program, modeled after the 2018 Farm Bill pilot milk donation program, to facilitate the donation of dairy products and minimize food waste.
  • $75 million for the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) and provides additional flexibilities to directly respond to COVID-19 by incentivizing the purchases of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants.
  • Extends the deadline for states to use CARES Act funding.
  • Expands the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
  • Extends all pandemic unemployment insurance programs through mid-March.
  • $10 billion for new grants for child care providers impacted by COVID-19.
  • Extends the current CDC eviction moratorium until January 31, 2021 and provides $25 billion in rental assistance to states and local governments and Native American tribes.
  • Establishes a task force to test new technology in WIC to help with online purchasing, deliveries, self-checkout, and other measures.
  • Extends free meals reimbursement through the Child and Adult Care Food Program to young adults up to age 25 residing in emergency shelters.

In 2021, legislative updates will only be sent to NCAH members.

Not sure if you’re a member? Reach out to Katie Herndon at katie@ncallianceforhealth.org.

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