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Reps. Fudge, Scott Urge USDA to Implement Pandemic EBT

WASHINGTON –Today, Reps. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), Chair of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations, and Bobby Scott (VA-3), Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue urging the immediate implementation of the new “Pandemic EBT” included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201).  The bill, Congress’ latest response to the coronavirus pandemic, authorizes USDA to approve state plans to provide emergency benefits (Pandemic EBT) to households with children who would receive free or reduced-price school meals if not for the closure of their school due to the public health emergency.

Reps. Fudge and Scott introduced the Pandemic EBT Act (H.R. 6200) on March 11, 2020 to provide USDA with this new legislative authority.  The measure was subsequently included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was signed into law by the President yesterday.

“As you work to implement this new legislative authority, we urge you to move quickly to issue guidance to state agencies that provides broad flexibility in program design and allows states to tailor their program to best fit their unique needs during the COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote the Members.

The letter goes on to highlight several common-sense ways USDA can provide states with the flexibility to ensure eligible families receive the food assistance they need during this difficult and uncertain time.

Given the growing number of school closures nationwide, the Members urged USDA to “act swiftly to provide states with clarity on Pandemic EBT to ensure low-income children without access to school meals receive assistance as quickly as possible.”

The text of the letter can be found here.