There are several child nutrition programs which help families, schools, and child care programs provide healthy foods to children. Rather than revisit each one separately, Congress uses a process called Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) to revisit and modify the permanent laws that established many of these programs. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 was the most recent CNR, and certain provisions in that law expired at the end of September 2015.
Some of the programs typically included in CNR laws are permanently authorized and have permanent authorization of appropriations.1 The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) are two examples of such programs. In other words, programs of this type do not expire, even if the CNR law expires. Other programs – WIC, for example – have permanent authorization, yet their authorizations of appropriations expired when the HHFKA expired.1 Funding for these programs has been provided through yearly appropriations acts since the expiration of HHFKA. Still other programs expired and ceased to operate when HHFKA expired.
Especially in light of recent crises like the COVID pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn, CNR is an important step towards improving access to healthy food for all children. Dr. Lee Beers, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, recently reported to Congress that physicians across the nation have seen an alarming rise in child obesity – including body weight increases between 20% - 90% over the last year.2 Furthermore, Feeding America projects that 1 in 6 children may experience food insecurity in 2021.3 Both child obesity and food insecurity have been exacerbated by the current crises experienced nationwide.
Undoubtedly, Child Nutrition Reauthorization is a crucial endeavor for the 117th Congress. Thankfully, CNR is largely a bipartisan effort, and Congress has already started working towards a new CNR law to be enacted before this session ends in January 2023.
I hope this has increased your understanding of CNR. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. For information on the Academy’s CNR stance and talking points, visit here. Also, there are several active Action Alerts in the Academy’s Action Center.
Dawn Matusz, MS, NDTR
Public Policy Coordinator
Content: The Academy is currently promoting three active action alerts! Take Action by submitting an automatically generated letter to your congressional representatives.
HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) – The HEROES Act adjusts federal food assistance programs to provide food insecure Americans with help during this uncertain time. Key provisions in the HEROES Act include a 15% increase in the max benefit for SNAP through September 30, 2021 as well as an increase in the minimum benefit from $15 to $30 per month. The Act has passed the House of Representatives, was considered in the Senate by the Housing, Community Development, and Insurance Committee on June 10. It is currently awaiting further action by the Senate.
MNT Act (H.R. 6971) – The Medical Nutrition Therapy Act expands access to MNT for several diet-related diseases covered under Medicare Part B. Such added coverage includes prediabetes, obesity, HTN, eating disorders, cancer, Celiac disease, and more. Expanded access to MNT is especially important for minority populations that have long faced chronic disease health disparities due to socioeconomic inequalities and reduced access to health care, healthful foods, and safe places to be active. This Act was introduced in the House on May 22, and is awaiting further action.
Support Diversity in Allied Health Professions – The Academy has partnered with the National Association for Equal Opportunities in Higher Education to encourage Congress to provide $300 million in funding for minority serving institutions that would support allied health professions programs, including nutrition and dietetics. In addition, we are requesting $10 million for nutrition and dietetics career outreach. This initiative would allow for increased numbers of minority health professionals to provide culturally competent nutrition counselling in communities of color. Additionally, the initiative seeks to increase the numbers of young people of color choosing allied health careers.
Dawn Matusz, BS, NDTR
Public Policy Coordinator
With the primaries now over, the race to the general election will get hot and heavy. The primary is the first step for candidates from both parties to determine who will be on the ballot in November. Each candidate runs against individuals from their own party in an effort to see who can garner the most votes to make them eligible for the general election. Just because a candidate is an incumbent, does not guarantee them a spot for the general. In fact, in this primary, two incumbents were defeated by challengers. In the federal elections, the top vote getter in each party will move on to the general election.
For example, in the 1st Congressional District, Assemblywoman Dina Titus, the incumbent, Democrat, will face off against Joyce Bently, Republican.
Assembly and Senate races follow the same pattern. In some primary races, there was only one party represented. That is because there was just one candidate who filed in the other party. Those two will then be on the general ballot in November. In some cases, there was no challenger from the other party. That happened in Assembly District 1, so Assemblywoman Danielle Monroe-Moreno will automatically be re-elected to her position.
Judicial races are different. If a judicial candidate received more than 50% of the vote, they are automatically elected to that seat. For example, Judge Ron Israel was re-elected to District 8, Department 28 with 50.93% of the vote. In most of the other races, no candidate received more than 50% of the votes so the top two vote getters will be in a run-off in general. An example is District 8, Department 24 where Dan Gillam received 32.16% of the votes and Erika D. Ballow received 23.36 %. Judicial races, by the way, are non-partisan.
Will November be mail-in again? We don't know yet. But I would encourage each of you to find the candidates in your area, read up on them and on the judicial candidates and be sure to vote.
Kara Freeman, DrPH RD, FAND
State Policy Representative