Representative Ilhan Omar in the House and Bernie Sanders in the Senate are pushing for legislation that would not only end the cycle of student lunch debt that many children are facing, but it would permanently make school lunches free for students. This move is way past due for America, and studies have shown that offering food to students can improve both attendance and test scores. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this.

*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Bernie Sanders in the Senate and Ilhan Omar in the house have both introduced legislation to their respective chambers that would provide free school lunches to every single child, not just school lunches, by the way, breakfast, lunch, and dinner to every single child attending a public school here in the United States, regardless of income. This is the universal free meals plan. So it doesn’t matter if you come from a wealthy family or if you come from a poor family, everybody gets a free school lunch. This is something that is long overdue, but it’s also something that most people have never actually even thought of. We don’t typically hear a whole heck of a lot about school lunches until there’s a snow day. Right? Think about that. We hear about it when there’s some kind of, you know, catastrophe that prevents kids from going to school. We heard about it during the pandemic, obviously.

And what happened was that these children, sometimes that’s the only meal they get those days. So when school is closed for the day, they don’t get to eat. Sometimes you got 30 million children in this country living off of free school lunches, 30 million that’s unacceptable. And we have the resources as a country. We have the money, how you could shave off a tiny sliver of that military budget and say, we’re going to use this to feed starving children here in the United States, because it is a growing problem. This is not a group that shrinking it’s a group that is growing. And the pandemic of course has only made that worse. Yay. Can’t Hey, it’s great for the kid that did that. You’re, you’re an awesome person, but it’s horrifying that we have to have kids go out there to try to raise money, to pay off school lunch debts, which shouldn’t be a thing increases the reimbursement rate for school meals to $2 and 72 cents for breakfast, $3 and 81 cents for lunch and dinner provides a 30 cent incentive for schools to procure local foods. So it would help local economies as well. And again, the federal government’s going to reimburse the schools, the money they pay for lunches.

So the school’s not out any money. You’re spending more of it in the local economy and you get extra money for doing that. So this would stimulate local economies and local food producers reimbursed the schools for all delinquent school meal debt. So any outstanding debt right now would immediately paid for by the federal government, not forgiven, okay, schools, you’re still gonna get your money. It’s going to come from our tax dollars. And I’m cool with that. I think everybody should be cool with that. Provide summer meals to all children and an additional $60 per month for low-income children. Boom, that’s the kicker. That’s the part that is missing. Because again, like I said, you got 30 million kids whose parents can’t afford to buy them school lunches or can’t afford to pack their own lunch.

So what do they do when school’s out? Lot of them go hungry some days, this ends that that’s remarkable, strengthens and expands the child and adult care food program. There, you have it. This is a beautiful plan. This is a humane plan. And this is something again that we can very easily afford as a country. We just finally have to make the conscious effort to do it. And that’s where the problem lies.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced