Scott and Murphy Reintroduce Bipartisan, Bicameral FEED Act with Support of Chef José Andrés
WASHINGTON – Today, Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) were joined by John Cornyn (R-TX), John Boozman (R-AR), Mark Warner (D-VA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and supported by Chef José Andrés and World Central Kitchen in announcing their intent to re-introduce the FEMA Empowering Essential Deliveries (FEED) Act in the 117th Congress.
This bill allows the Federal government to pay 100 percent of the cost to states and localities so that they can partner with restaurants and nonprofits to prepare nutritious meals for vulnerable populations, such as seniors and underprivileged children. These partnerships will support businesses and small farmers as the Coronavirus pandemic continues.
“The FEED Act is an all-encompassing win for our most vulnerable populations, workers, restaurants, and small farms doing their best to stay afloat during the pandemic,” said Senator Scott (R-SC). “By opening up a pathway for food producers, restaurants, and non-profits to easily partner with their state and local governments, the FEED Act is proof that good work happens when the private and public sector work together. Many thanks to Chef José Andrés and our bipartisan coalition for coming together to work on commonsense life-changing legislation.”
“COVID-19 has made millions of Americans food insecure and pushed restaurants to the brink of bankruptcy through no fault of their own,” said Senator Murphy (D-CT). “It’s up to Congress and President Biden to get them the assistance they need to get out of this hell. That’s why I’m teaming up with my colleague Senator Scott to introduce the FEED Act, which provides funding for restaurants and nonprofits to feed Americans struggling as a result of the pandemic. No one should be food insecure in this country and helping families get back on their feet should be a top priority in the coming months.”
“Today, we have in front of us a major opportunity to meet head-on two crises that have been going on throughout the pandemic, mostly out of sight: a serious increase in the number of hungry Americans, and the loss of hundreds of thousands of restaurants and millions of restaurant jobs,” said Chef José Andrés with the World Central Kitchen. “With the FEED Act we have a win-win solution: the federal government will start working hand-in-hand with cities and states to keep restaurants working and communities fed. We know that this model works – we’ve seen it work in Charleston, in New Haven, and hundreds of other cities around the country – and can take it nationwide with the support of Senators Scott, Murphy, and their colleagues in the Senate.
“This legislation would be a game changer for restaurants, farmers, and families in need,” said Senator Graham (R-SC). “This is an important step in keeping food on the table and workers paid as we rebuild from the coronavirus pandemic. I am hopeful this bill will move through the Senate in a timely manner so we can provide much-needed relief to thousands of Americans.”
“During the pandemic, the number of Texans in need has strained the capacity of food banks while restaurants and farmers have struggled to stay in business,” said Senator Cornyn (R-TX). “This legislation would allow farmers to work directly with nonprofits and restaurants to help senior citizens, families, and the unemployed access healthy meals.”
“We are in the midst of another COVID-19 surge which is adding to the economic anxieties Americans have faced from the onset of this crisis. Right at the top of those concerns, for far too many Americans, is hunger insecurity. A record number of families are struggling to put food on the table during the pandemic,” said Senator Boozman (R-AR). “As co-chair of the Senate Hunger Caucus, I am confident the FEED Act can help address this concern. This approach will help us reach those in need, while keeping restaurants open and ensuring farmers have a market for their commodities and livestock. I appreciate the leadership of Senators Scott and Murphy, as well as the advocacy of Chef Jose Andres, and look forward to working them so we can put this plan into motion.”
“Supporting Arizona restaurants and nonprofits that provide meals for children, seniors, and vulnerable communities helps Arizonans stay healthy and keep food on their tables during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Senator Sinema (D-AZ).
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the hunger crisis in America, resulting in millions more Americans becoming food insecure. To address the skyrocketing food insecurity in our communities, we must look for innovative ways to ensure families in Virginia have dependable access to nutritious meals,” said Senator Warner (D-VA). “That’s why we introduced this bipartisan legislation that would provide maximum flexibility to states and localities to help address this crisis while also supporting producers, restaurants, and local food systems in the process.”
“The public health and economic crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic has also created a hunger crisis, pushing millions more Americans into food insecurity,” said Senator Booker (D-NJ). “At the same time, restaurants and restaurant workers are facing deep financial struggles. The essential partnerships created by the FEMA Empowering Essential Deliveries (FEED) Act are a vital lifeline to keep restaurants operating while also ensuring access to nutritious meals for families in need.”
“By forging partnerships between federal and local governments, restaurants, and nonprofits, this bill will lift up struggling restaurants and get nutritious meals to Americans facing hunger. I have seen the devastating impacts of the economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic firsthand visiting food pantries and small businesses across Connecticut,” said Senator Blumenthal (D-CT). “I am pleased to see that President Biden is putting vulnerable Americans first by backing this effort. I look forward to working with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to pass this bill and ensure that no American is forced to go hungry.”
The FEMA Empowering Essential Deliveries (FEED) Act aims to provide nutritious meals to people in need in response to the Coronavirus crisis. The bill waives section 403(b) and 503(a) of the Stafford Act, which allows for FEMA to cover the cost of emergency and disaster related expenses. Under this legislation, the Federal government would cover 100 percent of the cost of disaster-related expenses, instead of the typical 75 percent. This would eliminate any state costs during the COVID-19 crisis and allow more states to take a proactive approach to distributing meals and providing more financial relief to restaurants. You can click here to read the text of the FEED Act.
Earlier this month, the House of Representatives filed a companion bill. Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA) , Jim McGovern (D-MA), and Rodney Davis (R-IL) were all cosponsors.
Scott: Ken Farnaso, 202-224-6121