Booker, Braun, McGovern, and Walorski Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Invoice That Would Convene a White Home Convention on Meals, Diet, Starvation and Well being

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

WASHINGTON, DC – Today US Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Mike Braun (R-IN) and US Representatives James P. McGovern (D-MA) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN) presented a bipartisan, bicameral bill, which would convene a second National White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, Hunger and Health. The first such conference took place a little over 50 years ago and culminated in the creation and expansion of programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the National School Breakfast and lunch program.

The proposed second conference would take a nationwide approach to ending hunger and tackling food insecurity in America, with diverse voices and people with lived experience. The conference would also examine weaknesses within the current food system, highlighting the fragility caused by hyperconsolidation, which has resulted in 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 nation convened a conference to address the widespread hunger crisis in America that led 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 – one of food insecurity – that plagues our nation and hinders the success of our nation’s youth due to decades of political failures in our dietary system. This bicameral, bipartisan legislation, in the spirit of 50 years ago, will convene a second conference of advocates, health professionals, and farmers and ranchers to address the flaws and injustices of our broken food system that is poisoning our communities and preventing us from achieving real Justice.”

“It is time to address our nation’s food insecurity with non-partisan, common sense. There is no reason why millions of Americans in rural and urban areas alike should go to sleep hungry, not knowing where their next meal is coming from, or have a bad diet. ” said Senator Mike Braun. “I look forward to calling a conference on food, nutrition, and health to help achieve nutritional goals as efficiently as possible.”

“Tens of millions of our American compatriots go to bed hungry every night. That is simply wrong “, said Congressman McGovern. “What we lack is neither food nor resources; we lack the political will and the moral courage to act. The COVID pandemic has shown that hunger is not just a problem for others. It’s something anyone can struggle with in the blink of an eye. It is time we brought experts together and created a holistic, nationwide plan to end hunger and food insecurity. I look forward to working with our non-partisan group to make this White House conference on food, nutrition, hunger and health a reality. “

“No neighborhood in Indiana or across the country is safe from starvation. Addressing food insecurity in America and removing the barriers that prevent families from succeeding are bipartisan priorities. ” said Congressman Valorsky. “To responsibly use taxpayers’ resources, we need to understand what works best to address hunger and food insecurity in our communities at the local, state, and state levels. The White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, Hunger and Health will be an important forum for bipartisan collaboration on data-driven and evidence-based solutions to deliver real results for families in need. “

“I am proud to support Chairman McGovern and Senator Booker’s efforts to introduce bipartisan legislation that will convene a White House conference on food, nutrition, hunger and health.” said Chef José Andrés, founder of the nonprofit food aid World Central Kitchen. “Whether after disasters, in our schools, or in the fight against 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 food insecurity is a thing of the past. I look forward to working closely with President Biden, the White House and Congress to make this long overdue conference a reality. “

“As a country, we can end hunger. 36 million Americans were starving before the pandemic – we shouldn’t strive to just get back to how things were before the pandemic, we should strive to do better. ” said top chief judge and food activist Tom Colicchio. “Ending hunger in America is not just a dream or a slogan, it is something we can and will achieve, and that begins with the convening of this conference in the White House.”

“The time has come for a conference at the White House to develop a national food production strategy. Our country is facing a food crisis that is damaging our health, economy, justice, military readiness and natural resources. ” said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, Dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University. “Current federal policy, research and investments in food and nutrition are divided among 21 authorities. A conference will be critical to rethinking and transforming our food systems that improve health, end hunger, reduce health spending, advance science and innovation, and fuel our economies for all Americans. “

In the United States, nearly half the adult population and a quarter of the young adult population are currently prediabetic or have type 2 diabetes. Food insecurity and diet-related chronic disease disproportionately affect racial, ethnic, low-income, rural, and other underserved populations in the United States. In just over 10 years, type 2 diabetes rates have doubled in African American children and increased by 50 percent in Native American and Hispanic children between the ages of 10 and 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 related to diet-related diseases exceed $ 600 billion annually, with such diseases leading to poorer outcomes from COVID-19.

Although new census data shows recent measures have brought hunger in America to the lowest level since the pandemic began, a return to the pre-COVID-19 status quo would starve tens of millions of people in every congressional district of the nation. More than 35 million people, including 10 million children, were starving in America even before the COVID pandemic broke out. Nonprofit groups estimate that hunger costs the United States more than $ 160 billion each year due to poor health outcomes, chronic illness, and lost productivity.

This White House conference would bring together the leaders of food banks, hospitals, government agencies, nonprofits, educators, farmers and ranchers, individuals with lived experience, and more, with the goal of creating a real benchmark plan to end hunger and reduce nutrition to create insecurity and reduce diet-related diseases.

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

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