A bill headed to the White House will extend a series of waivers ensuring the availability of meals for kids during the summer and upcoming school year.

Among other things, the bill would allow for grab-and-go meals this summer and increase reimbursement for school meals.

The House provided final congressional approval to the bill Friday after the Senate modified the legislation Thursday night to remove a provision that would have allowed kids to get free school meals if their family income is low enough to qualify for reduced-price meals.

Congressional leaders — including Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and ranking member John Boozman, R-Ark., — introduced the bill Tuesday

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Existing child nutrition waivers that have been implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic are set to expire next Thursday, creating what had been dubbed a “hunger cliff.” Those waivers included one that allowed all students to get free meals.

"The Keep Kids Fed Act provides critical aid to school nutrition professionals confronting a continued onslaught of challenges in their effort to ensure students are nourished and ready to learn," said Beth Wallace, president of the School Nutrition Association. 

“We are extremely disappointed Senate leaders were forced to strike a key provision to eliminate the reduced-price meal co-pay for eligible families, struggling with rising food and gas costs,” she said.

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