CFPA Urges Congress to Oppose H.R. 5003
5.17.2016 CFPA sent letters to California's Representatives on the House Education and the Workforce Committee (Reps. Davis, DeSaulnier, Hunter, and Takano) requesting their opposition of the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 (H.R. 5003).
This bill, which the committee is scheduled mark-up tomorrow, would hurt children by weakening the child nutrition programs and balancing the cost of any small benefits on the backs of low-income children. CFPA asks you to join us in telling our Representatives that H.R. 5003 is unacceptable â€“ the committee needs to start over. Here are three critical ways H.R. 5003 hurts children in California:
- Limits eligible students' participation in the school meal programs. Rather than increasing access to the school meal programs as the chairman has suggested, H.R. 5003 would (a) make hundreds of California schools ineligible for the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which enables schools to offer breakfast and lunch free of charge to all students; (b) increase the number of applications that must be verified and alter verification procedures in ways that inevitably would cause eligible students to lose access to free and reduced-price school meals; and (c) limit schools' ability to effectively conduct outreach.
Rolls back progress on school nutrition. The House bill identifies new criteria that must be considered in establishing nutrition standards. These criteria ultimately undermine student health and are counter to both science and practicality. Furthermore, the bill undermines the intent and nutritional benefits of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program by allowing schools to replace fresh produce with dried (no sugar limit), canned (no sodium or sugar limit), and frozen varieties.
- Denies California an opportunity to address summer hunger. We know that Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (SEBTC) works, but it's not at work in California. SEBTC fights childhood hunger by providing low-income families with nutrition assistance benefits (on an EBT card) to purchase groceries during the summer months when kids lose access to nutritious, affordable school meals. Last year Rep. Susan Davis (CA-53) introduced the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act of 2015, which would have ensured low-income children across the country have access to SEBTC. Instead, H.R. 5003 limits the reach of Summer EBT for Children: only three states (Michigan, Nevada, and Texas) and the Cherokee and Chickasaw Nations would be eligible to participate.