CHICAGO, Dec. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Feeding America cheers the passage today of the Consolidated Appropriations Act and the Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes (PATH) Act.
"The legislation, which includes $1.1 trillion in funding for Fiscal Year 2016 and the extension of numerous expired tax provisions, will have a profound impact on the ability of the Feeding America network to provide millions of meals to struggling Americans," said Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America.
The compromise agreement protects the federal safety net and provides funding for a wide number of programs.
Most notably, the legislation passed today includes the America Gives More Act, which makes several charitable giving incentives permanent, including expanding the food donation tax deduction to help small businesses including farmers, restaurants, retailers and food manufacturers donate wholesome food to 501c3 charities. It also makes permanent the ability for older Americans at least 70 years and six months to donate IRA funds to a charitable organization tax free.
The PATH Act also makes permanent the expansion to the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit that were first enacted in the ARRA legislation. It will provide needed tax incentives to ensure our network has access to nutritious food for clients, as well as vital funding for working families, children and college tuition.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act also includes increases in several federal nutrition programs:
- The Emergency Food Assistance Program's (TEFAP) Storage and Distribution funding will increase by $5 million to $54.4 million.
- The USDA's Summer EBT pilots will increase $7 million to $23 million annually. This will allow the program to expand in 2016 and continue to provide meals to children from low-income families during the summer months when most public schools are closed.
- The bill also increases the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) to $222 million, which provides nutritious food to low-income older Americans. This program will now be able to expand coverage to low-income older Americans in Virginia.
"These legislative victories are important. The need for emergency food assistance has been consistently high since the recession began in 2007, and is expected to get significantly worse in 2016, when as many as 750,000 people who are categorized as "able-bodied adults without dependents" are expected to lose SNAP benefits," Aviv said. "We applaud the broad coalition of diverse partners who have worked together for many years to make the passage of today's legislation possible."
About Feeding America
Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
SOURCE Feeding America