Representative Omar Introduces Bill to Protect Access to School Meals During School Closures

March 11, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-05), a member of the Committee on Education and Labor, unveiled a bill to protect students’ access to school meal benefits during school closures. As of March 10,621 schools have been closed or are scheduled to close, affecting more than 430,000 students and jeopardizing access to a critical source of nutrition for students across the country.

Nearly 22 million children receive free or reduced-price lunches at their public schools.

“As the country responds to Coronavirus, we cannot forget that many Americans could face hardship as a result of some of our preventative measures. Twenty-two million children rely on federal subsidized meals. For many kids, it is the only meal they get each day.  It is our responsibility to ensure that kids continue to get the meals they need. My bill will allow the USDA to grant waivers to schools that close so that they can make sure their students are fed,” said Representative Omar. 

The Maintaining Essential Access to Lunch for Students (MEALS) Act, H.R. 6187, waves the existing requirement that prevents the Department of Agriculture from approving state waiver requests that result in increased costs to the federal government.

To read the Maintaining Essential Access to Lunch for Students (MEALS) Act bill text, click here.

The Maintaining Essential Access to Lunch for Students (MEALS) Act is cosponsored by Rep. Omar (MN-05), Rep. Fudge (OH-11), Rep. Morelle (NY-25), Rep. Courtney (CT-02), Rep. Trone (MD-06), Rep. Sablan (MP-At-Large), Rep. Jayapal (WA-07), Rep. Levin (MI-09), Rep. DeSaulnier (CA-11), Rep. Grijalva (AZ-03), Rep. Takano (CA-41), Rep. Adams (NC-12), Rep. Schrier (WA-08), Rep. Hayes (CT-05), and Rep. Wild (PA-07).