Originally published as "The Biden Administration’s Chance to Improve SNAP and Nutrition Support," Washington Monthly, May 18, 2021.
The Biden Administration is strengthening nutrition support for families experiencing poverty. The American Rescue Plan, passed earlier this year, included $12 billion in additional support for major food assistance programs and the proposed American Families Plan expands access to free school lunch, summertime cash benefits for families with children, and support for formerly incarcerated individuals typically excluded from nutrition programs. This last proposal may be critical for Black Americans disproportionately affected by the criminal justice system.
It’s well known that the administration has begun to prioritize racial equity in federal programs, from Covid-19 vaccinations to highway construction, but more could be done to make nutrition benefits easier to access, too. One way to do that is by targeting onerous rules that perpetuate racial inequity.