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Democrats press Biden to step up fight against domestic hunger

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House Democrats are pressing President Biden to get more aggressive in the fight against domestic hunger.

In a letter sent to Biden on Wednesday, the Democratic heads of 25 House committees urged the president to bring together a variety of stakeholders for a national conference designed to formulate a plan for alleviating food insecurity across the country — a crisis made worse by the arrival of the coronavirus.

“The pandemic exacerbated the realities of the nation’s hunger crisis. Even before the pandemic, nearly 40 million Americans went hungry,” the Democrats wrote. “The status quo isn’t working. We need transformational change now.”

Biden and Congress worked together earlier this year to address the hunger crisis. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, enacted in March, included roughly $12 billion for low-income food programs, including an expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, previously known as food stamps, and nutrition initiatives targeting children forced by the pandemic to stay at home, where they no longer had access to school meal programs.

Yet despite the additional funding, 11 percent of adults with children said earlier this summer that they don’t have enough to eat, according to a survey by the Census Bureau. While that number has dipped to 8.4 percent with the arrival of the expanded child tax credit — a provision of the American Rescue Plan that launched July 15 — the figure remains much higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The Democrats pushing Biden for further action are suggesting an overhaul in how policymakers approach hunger. They want their proposed conference to feature not only government officials at all levels but also business leaders, nonprofit groups, tribal leaders, activists and those who have experienced hunger personally. Their goal is ambitious: “to design a roadmap to end hunger in America by 2030.”

“By working past artificial government silos and focusing on holistic solutions, we can improve the nation’s health and nutrition while strengthening our food delivery system,” the Democrats wrote.

The letter was spearheaded by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Rules Committee and a longtime champion of efforts to fight hunger both at home and abroad.

Other signatories include Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), head of the House Appropriations Committee; David Scott (D-Ga.), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, which oversees the food stamp program; Jim Himes (D-Conn.), who chairs the select committee on income disparity; and Don Beyer (D-Va.), head of the Joint Economic Committee.

Tags Boehner David Scott Food Stamps hunger Jim Himes Joe Biden Rosa DeLauro Snap

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