The Biden administration outlined a national strategy Tuesday of executive actions and legislative priorities it says will combat hunger and address diet-related conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and various cancers that plague millions of Americans.
The strategy arrives the day before President Joe Biden is scheduled to address the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health where several hundred attendees will discuss recommendations and ideas the White House gathered over the summer. Biden has said the goal of the conference is to end hunger and reduce chronic illnesses linked to poor diets by 2030.
Participants are expected to announce commitments Wednesday on steps they will take to advance the national strategy.
“This important conference and the commitment to a national strategy on ending hunger and healthier eating will build on the research and knowledge we now have to make America truly a stronger, healthier nation,” Biden said in a statement.
The daylong event at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center is structured under five pillars: Improving food access and affordability; integrating nutrition and health; giving consumers healthy choices and empowering them to make them; supporting physical activity; and enhancing nutrition and food security research.
“The consequences of food insecurity and diet-related diseases are significant, far reaching, and disproportionately impact historically underserved communities,” said Biden. “Yet, food insecurity and diet-related diseases are largely preventable, if we prioritize the health of the nation.”
Under the White House plan, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eligibility would be expanded, children would get better access to free meals, and summer benefits would be extended to more school kids. Such changes would require congressional approval.
Under the wide-ranging plan, the administration would seek to reinstate a more generous child tax credit that expired in January and is credited with temporarily reducing child poverty.
Democrats expanded the child tax credit along party lines in last year’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief law, initiating monthly payments of up to $300 per child and making it more widely available at higher income amounts. Households that owed little or no income taxes qualified, a move Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin, opposed.
Administration officials said on a background call Monday that reviving the bigger child tax credit would give families more money for food.