Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) has proposed legislation that allow low-income children who get free and reduced-price lunches at school to get federal nutrition benefits during the summer, when school is out.
Murray said her Stop Child Hunger Act is needed to ensure that these kids don't go hungry in the absence of federally subsidized lunches during the school year.
"When school is in session, millions of kids from low-income families can get free or reduced-price meals through our National School Lunch Program," Murray said on the Senate floor Wednesday. "But during the summer, hunger goes up in this country about 34 percent for families with school-aged kids, according to a study."
Murray noted that the federal government already operates a Summer Food Service Program, which offers reduced-price food for low-income families in certain areas around the country during the summer. But she said that program only reaches about 14 percent of the students who use the federal school lunch program at school.
"That adds up to tens of millions of kids across our country who do not have access to meal programs in the summer," she said.
Under her bill, eligible families would receive one electronic benefits transfer card per child, and each EBT card would have $150 of food aid benefits on it. Her bill offsets the cost of these new benefit by ending a tax benefit used by some companies with overseas operations.
Current law allows companies to deduct from their taxes any interest payments on debt used to finance the expansion of overseas operations, even before they report related income on those operations. Murray's bill would require companies to defer these deductions until that foreign income is subject to U.S. taxes.
"From my perspective, that is a pretty fair trade," she said. "It will encourage companies to keep jobs and profits here in America. At the same time, it will help kids get the nutrition they need during the summer."