Biden announces actions to address the growing hunger crisis facing 29 million Americans during coronavirus pandemic

Biden's actions are described as "equitable emergency economic relief" that would "help Americans persevere through the pandemic," according to a White House statement.

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President Joe Biden is expected to use executive actions to boost federal food aid during the coronavirus pandemic. While the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) has faced incredible demand with the economic fallout, Biden’s actions are described as “equitable emergency economic relief” that would “help Americans persevere through the pandemic,” according to a White House statement.

“Today, President Biden is taking new executive actions to deliver economic relief for American families and businesses amid the COVID-19 crisis while addressing the racial inequities it has exacerbated.”

The “all-of-government effort” outlined by the White House will:

  • Address the growing hunger crisis facing 29 million Americans — and as many as 12 million children – by asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider expanding and extending federal nutrition assistance programs. 
  • Ensure equitable and effective delivery of direct payments — by asking the Treasury Department to change its delivery structure and focus on getting relief to the 8 million Americans who still have not received the financial assistance to which they are entitled.
  • Help approximately 2 million veterans maintain their financial footing by asking the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to consider pausing federal collections on overpayments and debts. 
  • Help ensure that unemployed Americans no longer have to choose between paying their bills and keeping themselves and their families safe from COVID-19 by asking the U.S. Department of Labor to clarify that workers who refuse unsafe working conditions can still receive unemployment insurance.
  • Enable effective and equitable distribution of government assistance by establishing an interagency benefit coordination structure.

“While the President will continues working with Congress to take bold action that will help working families through the remainder of the crisis, he is taking these emergency measures and important steps to give millions of Americans real relief during the pandemic.”

Many organizations and human rights advocates welcomed Biden’s actions and called it “a bold, common-sense move to address the nation’s joint hunger and public health crises,” Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, said.

“These actions represent the most significant administrative actions by the federal government to fight domestic hunger in modern times,” Berg said.

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