Chair Fudge: USDA Admits Categorical Eligibility Changes Could Put Free School Meals at Risk for A Million Children

Nearly a million U.S. children would lose direct eligibility for free school meals under the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility, according to an impact analysis released this week by the Agriculture Department. That number is more than twice the original estimates from the Department upon the proposal’s release. Ohio Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, Chair of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations, and a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, issued a statement Wednesday morning following the announcement:

 

 

“This is a jarring admission by the Administration’s own analysts of the real damage the President’s policies will do to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. The analysis more than doubles the figures USDA first estimated, and now shows almost a million students will either lose their free school meals entirely, or have to jump through additional bureaucratic hoops to recertify their eligibility. That creates yet another barrier from this Administration between working families and the help they need. Also, this is information that should have been included in the initial regulatory impact analysis, and it was completely dishonest for USDA to omit it. Not only does USDA know the President’s proposal will hurt our children, it also appears the Department is doing everything it can to obscure the real effects of those numbers from the public.”

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