Congress Votes to Take Food Away from Hungry Kids, Refuses Vote to Feed Them
Washington, DC – Last week, Congresswoman Robin Kelly offered an amendment to the so-called “Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act” to reprogram $3 million for summer food assistance to families receiving SNAP benefits.
“Far too often, kids go hungry in the summer because they aren’t in school and being fed,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “For families struggling to make ends meet, affording three meals a day, even with SNAP benefits, for their children is simply impossible. My amendment would provide more breathing room for families working hard to keep food on the table.”
During the 2013-14 school year, more than 770,000 Illinois kids were fed through the free and reduced lunch program at schools.
The Kelly Amendment was rejected by the House Rules Committee, which determines which bills and amendments will receive votes in Congress. The committee did allow a vote on the Hartzler Amendment, a proposal to eliminate the reduced lunch program.
“It’s deeply troubling that this Congress will allow us to vote to take food away from millions of hungry kids but won’t let us vote to feed them,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly. “No American child should go hungry. I’m sorry that so many of my colleagues disagree with this basic statement of humanity.”
In Illinois, one in four school districts have student bodies that are 100 percent eligible for free and reduced lunch. Congresswoman Kelly pledged to continue working with local and community organizations to ensure young people do not go hungry just because they are not in school during the summers.
Notes: Traditionally, Appropriations bills are considered under a process referred to as an ‘open rule,’ which allows any Member of Congress to offer amendments to the spending bill. However, in recent years, Republican leadership has used a process referred to as a ‘closed rule’ to limit or strike amendments through the hyper-partisan Rules Committee.