Funding to extend the school nutrition waivers issued during the pandemic may be included in an upcoming funding bill, Roll Call reports.
U.S. Senator and Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow is pushing to have funding for the waivers included in a supplemental appropriations package that would provide pandemic-related funding to states and aid to Ukraine.
The Senate hopes to this week reach an agreement on what will be included in the package. It could then be put up for a vote as soon as next week.
The waivers, which have allowed school nutrition programs to provide universal free meals to students, receive higher meal reimbursements and more during the pandemic, are set to expire at the end of next month.
Congress failed to include funding to extend the waivers in an Omnibus spending bill in March. The School Nutrition Association has pushed for extending the waivers and has warned that, without them, school nutrition operators will face rising costs that could cripple their programs this summer and upcoming school year.
“We desperately need these waivers to manage unyielding supply chain disruptions and labor shortages, cover rapidly escalating costs and remain viable to support our communities,” SNA President Beth Wallace said in a statement in March. “Congress’ failure to act will undoubtedly cause students to go hungry and leave school meal programs in financial peril.”