The Biden Administration hosted the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health on Wednesday, September 28th, 2022. This was the first White House Conference on these topics in more than 50 years, since the Nixon Administration, and it covered a broad range of topics in its plenary and breakout sessions, which are available on the White House Youtube page.
President Biden used his opening remarks to tout some of the successes of his Administration thus far, particularly focusing on the expansion of the Child Tax Credit through the American Rescue Plan. The expanded CTC reduced child poverty by 50% and cut food insecurity by 26%, making it “one of the most effective programs we’ve ever seen,” Biden noted. “We are calling for Congress to expand it permanently,” a policy goal that has stalled on the Hill in recent months, despite the tireless efforts of advocates and the support of the White House.
The President also shared that thanks to an adjustment in the benefit formula, Americans receiving SNAP benefits are receiving an extra $36 per month to help purchase food, a necessary increase in the face of inflation and hardship.
The President also used the opportunity to set a bold and progressive agenda for the future of hunger and nutrition policy. The Biden-Harris Administration National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition and Health calls for moving toward universal free school meals for every student by first expanding to 9 million additional students by 2032. President Biden called this proposal a “major first step for free meals for every single student.” Notably, the Child Nutrition reauthorization has stalled in Congress this year, after being marked up in the House Education and Labor Committee in July.
President Biden wrapped up the morning’s opening remarks by calling for bipartisan cooperation, noting that “there shouldn’t be anything partisan about this,” and appealing to our shared humanity: “If a parent can’t feed a child, there’s nothing else that matters to that parent.”