Text: H.R.4249 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (03/13/2014)


113th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 4249


To amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to expand and improve Federal programs to reduce child hunger.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 13, 2014

Ms. Titus (for herself, Mr. Vargas, Ms. Fudge, Mr. Huffman, Mr. Cartwright, Ms. Moore, Mr. Conyers, Mr. Polis, Ms. Clarke of New York, Ms. Clark of Massachusetts, Mr. Cárdenas, Mr. Johnson of Georgia, Mr. Deutch, and Mr. Serrano) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce


A BILL

To amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to expand and improve Federal programs to reduce child hunger.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Helping Hungry Students Learn Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress makes the following findings:

(1) In 2012, nearly one in five children in America lived in a household that lacked access to nutritious food on a regular basis. That is 15.9 million American children who struggled with hunger at some time during the year.

(2) Children who experience hunger are more likely to get sick and are more likely to be obese than those who do not. Children facing chronic hunger also find it more difficult to concentrate in school and tend to exhibit higher levels of behavioral, emotional, and academic problems.

(3) Federal programs play an important role in addressing childhood hunger. In 2013, 21 million students participated in the free or reduced-price lunch program. Eleven million students participated in the free or reduced-price breakfast program. Three million low-income children received free meals during the summer months. Forty-seven percent of participants in the supplemental nutrition assistance program are under the age of 18.

(4) On average, students who eat school breakfast achieve 17.5 percent higher scores on standardized math tests, and attend 1.5 more days of school each year than those who do not. Students who attend class more regularly are 20 percent more likely to graduate from high school. Participation in the school breakfast program is associated with children having a lower Body Mass Index.

SEC. 3. School Lunch Program.

Section 9(b) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act is amended—

(1) in paragraph (1)(A), by inserting after the third sentence the following: “Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, for each school year beginning on or after the July 1 of the year following the year of enactment of the Helping Hungry Students Learn Act, the income guidelines for determining eligibility for free lunches shall be 185 percent of the applicable family size income levels contained in the nonfarm income poverty guidelines prescribed by the Office of Management and Budget, as adjusted annually in accordance with subparagraph (B)”; and

(2) in paragraph (9)(B), by inserting at the end the following:

    “(iii) TERMINATION OF REDUCED-PRICE CATEGORY.—Beginning with the school year beginning July 1 of the year following the year of enactment of the Helping Hungry Students Learn Act, no child shall be determined eligible for a reduced price lunch.”.

SEC. 4. School Breakfast Program.

(a) Universal school breakfast program.—Section 4(a) of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1773(a)) is amended—

(1) by striking “(a) There” and inserting: “(a)(1) There”; and

(2) by adding at the end the following:

“(2) UNIVERSAL SCHOOL BREAKFAST PROGRAM.—For each school year beginning on or after the July 1 of the year following the year of enactment of the Helping Hungry Students Learn Act, each school participating in the school breakfast program under this section shall provide breakfast under the program to each student that desires such a breakfast at no cost to the student.”.

(b) National average payment rate.—Section 4(b)(1)(B) of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1773(b)(1)(B)) is amended by adding at the end the following: “Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act or the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, for each school year beginning on or after the July 1 of the year following the year of enactment of the Helping Hungry Students Learn Act, the national average payment for each breakfast served to any child shall be equal to the national average payment for each free breakfast served during the school year beginning July 1 of the year of enactment of the Helping Hungry Students Learn Act (which shall be adjusted pursuant to section 11(a) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act).”.

(c) Severe need assistance.—Section 4(d)(1) of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1773(d)(1)) is amended—

(1) by striking “(A) during” and inserting: “(A)(i) during”;

(2) by striking “(B) in” and inserting “(ii) in”;

(3) by striking “subparagraph (A)” and inserting “clause (i)”;

(4) by striking “met.” and inserting “met; and”; and

(5) by adding at the end the following:

“(B) for each school year beginning on or after the July 1 of the year following the year of enactment of the Helping Hungry Students Learn Act, there is an alternative breakfast serving model to increase participation in the school breakfast program, such as by serving breakfast in the classroom or having a school breakfast cart.”.

SEC. 5. Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children program.

The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“SEC. 30. Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children program.

“(a) In general.—From the amount appropriated to carry out this section, the Secretary shall carry out a summer electronic benefits transfer for children program by awarding grants to States that desire to participate in such program to assist such States with the initial administrative costs of such participation.

“(b) Program requirements.—The summer electronic benefits transfer for children program carried out under this section shall have the same terms and conditions as the summer electronic benefits transfer for children demonstration project carried out under section 749(g) of the Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (Public Law 111–80; 123 Stat. 2131), except that the Secretary shall prescribe an annual adjustment for the monthly benefit of $60 per child that is adjusted at the time that the annual adjustments are made for the national average payment rates for breakfasts and lunches (pursuant to section 11(a) of this Act).”.

SEC. 6. Weekends and holidays without hunger.

Section 18 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1769) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(l) Weekends and holidays without hunger.—

“(1) DEFINITIONS.—In this subsection:

“(A) AT-RISK SCHOOL CHILD.—The term ‘at-risk school child’ has the meaning given the term in section 17(r)(1).

“(B) ELIGIBLE INSTITUTION.—

“(i) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘eligible institution’ means a public or private nonprofit institution that is determined by the Secretary to be able to meet safe food storage, handling, and delivery standards established by the Secretary.

“(ii) INCLUSIONS.—The term ‘eligible institution’ includes—

“(I) an elementary or secondary school or school food service authority;

“(II) a food bank or food pantry;

“(III) a homeless shelter; and

“(IV) such other type of emergency feeding agency as is approved by the Secretary.

“(2) ESTABLISHMENT.—Subject to the availability of appropriations provided in advance in an appropriations Act specifically for the purpose of carrying out this subsection, the Secretary shall establish a program under which the Secretary shall provide commodities, on a competitive basis, to State agencies for the purposes of enabling eligible institutions to carry out projects to provide nutritious food to at-risk children on weekends and during extended school holidays during the school year.

“(3) APPLICATIONS.—To participate in the program under this subsection, a State agency shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

“(4) ELIGIBILITY.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—To be eligible to receive commodities under this subsection, an eligible institution shall submit an application to the State agency involved at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the State agency may require.

“(B) PLAN.—An application under subparagraph (A) shall include the plan of the eligible institution for the distribution of nutritious foods to at-risk school children under the project to be carried out under this subsection, including—

“(i) methods of food service delivery to at-risk school children;

“(ii) assurances that children receiving foods under the project will not be publicly separated or overtly identified;

“(iii) lists of the types of food to be provided under the project and provisions to ensure food quality and safety;

“(iv) information on the number of at-risk school children to be served and the per-child cost of providing the children with food; and

“(v) such other information as the Secretary determines to be necessary to assist the Secretary in evaluating projects that receive commodities under this subsection.

“(5) PRIORITY.—In selecting applications under this subsection, a State agency shall give priority to eligible institutions that—

“(A) have on-going programs and experience serving populations with significant proportions of at-risk school children;

“(B) have a good record of experience in food delivery and food safety systems;

“(C) maintain high-quality control, accountability, and recordkeeping standards;

“(D) provide children with readily consumable food of high nutrient content and quality;

“(E) demonstrate cost efficiencies and the potential for obtaining supplemental funding from non-Federal sources to carry out projects; and

“(F) demonstrate the ability to continue projects for the full approved term of the pilot project period.

“(6) GUIDELINES.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall issue guidelines containing the criteria for eligible institutions to receive commodities under this section from State agencies.

“(B) INCLUSIONS.—The guidelines shall, to the maximum extent practicable within the funds available and applications submitted, take into account—

“(i) geographical variations in project locations that will be carried out by eligible institutions to include qualifying projects in rural, urban, and suburban areas with high proportions of families with at-risk school children;

“(ii) different types of projects that offer nutritious foods on weekends and during school holidays to at-risk school children; and

“(iii) institutional capacity to collect, maintain, and provide statistically valid information necessary for the Secretary—

“(I) to analyze and evaluate the results of the pilot project; and

“(II) to make recommendations to Congress.

“(7) EVALUATION.—

“(A) INTERIM EVALUATION.—Not later than November 30, 2016, the Secretary shall complete an interim evaluation of the pilot program carried out under this subsection.

“(B) FINAL REPORT.—Not later than December 31, 2018, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a final report that contains—

“(i) an evaluation of the pilot program carried out under this subsection; and

“(ii) any recommendations of the Secretary for legislative action.

“(8) FUNDING.—

“(A) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subsection such sums as are necessary, to remain available until expended.

“(B) AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS.—Not more than 3 percent of the funds made available under subparagraph (A) may be used by the Secretary for expenses associated with review of the operations and evaluation of the projects carried out under this subsection.”.