Booker, Braun, McGovern and Walorski introduce bipartisan, bicameral bill that would convene a White House conference on food, nutrition, hunger and health

Booker, Braun, McGovern and Walorski Introduce a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would convene a White House conference on food, nutrition, hunger and health

WASHINGTON DC – Today, U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Mike Braun (R-IN) and U.S. Representatives James P. McGovern (D-MA) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN) introduced a bipartisan bill and bicameral that would convene a second national White House conference on food, nutrition, hunger and health. The first such conference was held a little over 50 years ago, resulting in the creation and expansion of programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Nutrition Program supplement for women, infants and children (WIC) and the national school breakfast. and lunch program.

The proposed second conference would take a whole-of-government approach to ending hunger and addressing nutrition insecurity in America, featuring diverse voices and people with lived experience. The conference would also explore the weaknesses of the current food system, highlighting the fragility created by hyper-consolidation that has led to less choice for consumers and economic insecurity for farmers, ranchers and rural communities, many of whom are now considered food deserts.

“Fifty years ago, our country hosted a conference to address the widespread food crisis in America, leading to the creation and expansion of programs such as WIC and the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program,” said Senator Booker. “Despite the progress made, America is grappling with a hunger crisis and is now facing a second crisis, that of nutritional insecurity, which is plaguing our country and hindering the success of our country’s youth. because of decades-long political failures in our food system. pastoralists to address the failures and inequalities of our broken food system that plagues our communities and prevents us from achieving real justice.

“The time has come to tackle our country’s food insecurity with a bipartisan and common sense approach. There is no reason for millions of Americans in rural and urban areas to sleep hungry, unsure of where their next meal will come from, or with poor nutrition, ” said Senator Mike Braun. “I am looking forward to convening a conference on food, nutrition and health to help meet nutritional goals in the most efficient way possible. “

“Every night tens of millions of our fellow Americans go to bed hungry. This is simply not true, ” said Congressman McGovern. “What we lack is not food or resources; we lack the political will and the moral courage to act. The COVID pandemic has shown that hunger isn’t just someone else’s problem. It’s something that anyone can struggle with in the blink of an eye. It’s time for us to bring together experts and create a holistic whole-of-government plan to end hunger and nutrition insecurity. I look forward to working with our bipartisan group to make this White House conference on food, nutrition, hunger and health a reality.

“No part of Indiana or the country is safe from hunger. Tackling food insecurity in America and removing the barriers that prevent families from succeeding are bipartisan priorities, ” said MP Walorski. “To be responsible stewards of taxpayer resources, we must discern what works best to address hunger and food insecurity in our communities at the local, state and federal levels. White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, Hunger and Health will be an important forum for bipartisan collaboration on data and evidence-based solutions to achieve real results for families in need .

“I am proud to support the efforts of President McGovern and Senator Booker to introduce bipartisan legislation convening a White House conference on food, nutrition, hunger and health,” said Chef José Andrés, founder of the non-profit organization World Central Kitchen. “Whether it’s after disasters, in our schools, or fighting persistent hunger in our local communities, I believe in the power of food to bring all Americans together. We need to build longer tables where nutritional insecurity becomes a problem of the past. I look forward to working closely with President Biden, the White House and Congress to make this long-awaited conference a reality. “

“As a country, we can end hunger. 36 million Americans were hungry even before the pandemic – we shouldn’t aspire to just get back to the pre-pandemic situation, we should aspire to do better, ” said Top Chef judge and culinary activist Tom Colicchio. “Ending hunger in America is not just a dream or a slogan, it is something that we can and will do in reality, and it starts with calling this conference in the White House.”

“The time has come for a White House conference to develop a national strategy to fix the food. Our country is facing a nutritional crisis, which harms our health, our economy, our equity, our military preparation and our natural resources ”, said Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University. “Current federal policies, research and investment in food and nutrition are fragmented across 21 agencies. A conference will be essential in reimagining and redesigning our food system to one that improves health, ends hunger, cuts healthcare costs, advances science and innovation, and boosts our economy for all Americans. “

In the United States today, nearly half of the adult population and a quarter of the young adult population are pre-diabetic or have type 2 diabetes. disproportionately racial and ethnic groups as well as low-income, rural and other underserved populations in the United States. In just over 10 years, rates of type 2 diabetes have doubled in African American children and increased by 50% in Native American and Hispanic children aged 10 to 19. Black Americans are also 40 percent more likely to have high blood pressure and 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease than white Americans. Recent data has shown that health costs attributable to diet-related illnesses exceed $ 600 billion annually, with these illnesses leading to worse outcomes from COVID-19.

Although new census data shows recent actions have reduced hunger in America to its lowest level since the start of the pandemic, the return to the pre-COVID status quo would leave tens of millions of people hungry in every district of the country. Country Congress. More than 35 million people, including 10 million children, suffered from hunger in America even before the COVID pandemic struck. Nonprofit groups estimate that hunger costs the United States more than $ 160 billion each year in poor health, chronic disease and lost productivity.

This White House conference would bring together heads of food banks, hospitals, government agencies, nonprofits, educators, farmers and ranchers, people with lived experiences, etc., with the aim of ” develop a real plan with benchmarks to end hunger, reduce nutrition insecurity and reduce food-related diseases.

The full text of the legislation can be viewed here. A list of supporting organizations can be found here.

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