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Fudge, Kaptur Applaud USDA Approval of Ohio's Pandemic EBT Proposal

WASHINGTON –Today, Reps. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) and Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for approving the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Service’s proposal to operate a Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program.  As schools in the state remain closed in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, approval of the Pandemic EBT program will enable Ohio to provide an EBT card with the value of missed school meals to families with children who have lost access to free and reduced priced meals.

“With schools in Ohio closed through the remainder of the school year, countless students are at risk of going hungry as theyhave limited or no access to daily, nutritious school meals,” said Rep. Fudge.  “School districts across the state are working hard to deliver packed meals to students and establish pickup sites, but these methods are difficult to execute during a pandemic as participation remains low among students.  The Pandemic EBT program will provide schools with another tool to fight childhood hunger, giving children and their families continued access to healthy food during this crisis.”

“Folks across Northern Ohio are struggling as a result of COVID-19,” said Rep. Kaptur.  “Families are facing unprecedented food insecurity, job loss, and grave uncertainty.  We must ensure our children are protected and fed while school programs begin to transition for the summer.  Pandemic EBT is a critical source of funding to families to ensure children do not have to miss a meal.  I am pleased to work with Congresswoman Fudge to help Ohio’s families during these harrowing circumstances.”

Reps. Fudge and Bobby Scott (VA-3), Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, introduced the Pandemic EBT Act (H.R. 6200) on March 11, 2020 to provide USDA with the authority to approve state plans to provide emergency benefits to households with children who would have received free or reduced-price school meals if not for the closure of their school due to the public health emergency.  The measure was subsequently included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), which was enacted into law on March 18, 2020.

On March 20, 2020, Reps. Fudge and Scott sent a letter urging USDA to act swiftly to implement Pandemic EBT and give states flexibility to tailor the program to best fit their needs during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  Since then, 24 states have been approved to operate the program.