Washington, D.C. — Today, President Joe Biden signed a series of executive orders to address the growing hunger crisis in the United States. Following the signing of the orders, Alexandra Cawthorne Gaines, vice president of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
At a time when tens of millions of people do not have enough to eat, the impact of today’s executive orders cannot be overstated. Today’s orders will keep food on families’ tables and save lives.
Our nation was in the midst of a hunger crisis long before the pandemic. But COVID-19 has caused far more families to go hungry, with 1 in 7 households, and more than 1 in 5 Black and Latino households, unable to get enough food to eat. Today’s actions are important steps in beginning to address the ongoing hunger crisis.
We applaud President Biden’s leadership in calling for a boost to the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program, which will help the millions of children who are missing meals because their schools are closed. Additionally, President Biden’s order for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase benefits for the lowest-income households will make a huge difference to the more than 12 million people who haven’t yet gotten the help they need to keep food on the table during this unprecedented crisis in the United States. This increase has been one of CAP’s top priorities during the COVID-19 crisis.
Finally, we are thrilled to see that the Biden administration is updating the Thrifty Food Plan. For years, benefits based on the Thrifty Food Plan have been completely inadequate, leading families to run out of their benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) long before the month is over. Revising that plan, as these executive orders direct, is an important first step in ensuring all families can afford the food they need.
Strengthening and re-evaluating the most effective ways to deploy programs such as SNAP and P-EBT during this crisis is an important step toward the fair and equitable recovery our nation needs. Hunger doesn’t pay attention to party labels, and President Biden’s actions today will help all Americans.