Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee unveiled a draft, bipartisan bill to reauthorize all child nutrition programs called The Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016. The agreement provides for a five-year reauthorization of key federal school meal and child nutrition programs through fiscal year 2020. Strong child nutrition programs benefit children’s health, development and learning, setting them up for success in school and later in life.
The Senate Agriculture Committee considered the proposed reauthorization bill during a meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 20, and it passed on a voice vote with unanimous bipartisan support.
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), who serves on the Committee, co-sponsored a proposal focused on expanding access to summer meals that was included in the draft legislation, and supports the reauthorization. During the meeting, he spoke to the barriers that children face, particularly in rural areas, and the importance of all kids having access to healthy food year-round. (You can watch his remarks from the meeting, beginning around 51:37, online here.)
“As former school superintendent, I’ve seen firsthand the effect an empty stomach can have on a kid’s ability to grow and succeed in school,” shared Sen. Bennet, who later also said, “As Hunger Free Colorado says, ‘No child should go hungry, simply because of where they live.’ I could not agree more.”
We applaud the Senate Agriculture Committee for working together to create bipartisan legislation and advancing it to markup, so more kids have the fuel needed to excel in and out of school. Specifically, we want to thank Sen. Bennet for prioritizing the eradication of summer hunger and for his leadership in bipartisan collaboration.
We also thank all who made calls and sent emails over the past few months. They have been key to letting Sen. Bennet and other Congressional leaders know the importance of these issues across Colorado.
The House of Representatives’ Education and the Workforce Committee has not announced its proposed legislation and markup date.
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