What does the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill do for the food system?
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, otherwise known as the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill has lots of bits and pieces to strengthen elements of the food system.
- Extends the 15% increase in SNAP benefits through September 30, 2021
- Makes more SNAP benefits available to Puerto Rico, Samoa, Marianas
- Increases support for WIC, especially for fruit and vegetable purchases
- Continues Pandemic-EBT (free meals for school children excluded from schools)
- Provides funds for debt relief and outreach for socially disadvantaged farmers
- Establishes a new grant program for restaurants and bars to meet payroll and other expenses
- Expands income support for families with children through tax credits for child care and earned income
In addition, the Biden Administrration has done some other things to reduce food insecurity
- Extends state waivers for free school meals through summer 2021
What’s still needed:
- A comprehensive plan for creating a food system that promotes health and sustainability
- Universal school meals
- Universal Basic Income
Some of these new measures are steps in that direction. They just need to be continued. Advocate!