Washington, D.C.— The U.S. Conference of Mayors has sent a letter to the Senate Chair of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Senator Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Senator John Boozman; and the House Chair of the Committee of Agriculture, Representative David Scott, and Ranking Member Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson, urging them to support extending the expanded eligibility and increased benefit levels of federal nutrition programs.

In response to the hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, eligibility for federal nutrition programs was expanded, to great success, with millions of Americans being lifted out of poverty during this time. Now many of these programs are at risk of expiring leaving people without these critical benefits. Mayors are encouraging the Senators and Representatives to vote on six bills that will ensure these programs continue to be available to the many households that relied on the programs as a lifeline over the past two years.

The letter reads, in part:

“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have increased economic hardship across the United States, compelling many families to make difficult decisions and tradeoffs as they worry about how to afford food. During the pandemic, while many households turned to federal nutrition programs for the first time, those households with already low incomes found themselves depending even more on federal nutrition programs to meet their nutrition needs. Expanding eligibility and increasing benefit levels of federal nutrition programs lifted millions of Americans out of poverty during this challenging time.

Unfortunately, the current expanded eligibility and increased benefit levels are temporary and will end when the COVID-19 public health emergency ceases, even though millions of Americans will continue to struggle to make ends meet…

 As America’s mayors, we write to urge you to consider and vote for the following bills to promote food security and equity in our cities and the nation, both during COVID-19 and beyond.”

 The full text of the letter can be found here.