McMorris Rodgers, Levin Lead Bipartisan Bill to Improve Food Security for Military Families
Washington, D.C. (December 9, 2021) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Congressman Mike Levin (CA-49) today introduced the Military Dependents School Meal Eligibility Act to ensure the children of active-duty servicemembers have access to school meal programs.
“I’ve always said that joining the military is more than just a job – it’s a family commitment to our country. That’s why it’s so disappointing that we find ourselves in a position where food insecurity is becoming a growing concern amongst our military families. This is not a challenge military families should be faced with, and we must do something to address it immediately,” said Rodgers. “While this bill won’t fix everything, it will take an important step towards providing critical food security to military children and promote their success in the classroom, reduce financial stress for military families, and allow active duty servicemembers at Fairchild Airforce Base and across the country to focus on serving our nation.”
In recent years, over 60 percent of military families have reported feeling stressed from their financial situation, and nearly 1 in 7 military families say they are experiencing food insecurity. The Military Dependents School Meal Eligibility Act would help address military family food insecurity by:
- Qualifying almost all children of entry-level, active duty servicemembers for the National School Lunch Program, up through ranks E-6;
- Providing children with family incomes below 130 percent of the federal poverty line with free school meals and those between 130 and 185 percent with reduced-cost meals;
- Enabling the Department of Defense (DOD) to share family eligibility with school districts, so families can directly certify for free or reduced-price school meals; and
- Increasing the percentage of directly certified students in schools, making schools more eligible for the community eligibility provision, which offers free meals to all students.
“Kids who have balanced, nutritious meals do better in school and experience better health outcomes,” Rodgers added. “This is a commonsense piece of legislation, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead on it for our servicemembers and their families.”
Rodgers and Levin were joined by Congressmen Sanford Bishop (GA-02) and Richard Hudson (NC-08) in introducing the bill.
CLICK HERE to read the bill.