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Landry administration opts in to EBT program after 'hogwash' resistance to summer feeding program

2 months 3 weeks 2 days ago Wednesday, May 01 2024 May 1, 2024 May 01, 2024 2:49 PM May 01, 2024 in News
Source: KTBS

BATON ROUGE — Almost three months after the state initially refused the USDA's summer EBT program, Gov. Jeff Landry's administration said they will be participating in the federal summer feeding program for needy children, Shreveport's KTBS reports.

Landry said for months that Louisiana would not be participating in the program. Tuesday, however, he reportedly decided to opt-in to the program after a closed-door meeting with legislators.

Louisiana House Appropriations Chairman Rep. Jack McFarland, R-Jonesboro, championed the effort to get the state to participate after saying they would not for weeks, calling the inability to implement the program "hogwash" to a cheering House chamber on April 26.

"In federal dollars, it will bring in $71 million, and the number of children served will be no less than 250,000 and may be as many as 450,000," McFarland said.

When Landry initially refused the federal program in February, WBRZ reported that 35 states had opted in to the summer Electronic Benefits Transfer effort under SNAP would give each family $40 a month per child. Each of the 15 states that rejected the funding are led by Republicans.

Kate Kelly, Landry's spokesperson, cited the pandemic ending as rational for the initial refusal of the program.

"Louisiana already administers robust social safety net programs including SNAP, TANF, as well as the Child Nutrition Programs—including the USDA Summer Food Service Program, the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Seamless Summer Option, and WIC. This year, the Summer Food Service Program will offer meals-to-go," Kelly said in February. "Under these numerous programs, every child will be able to receive the meals they need throughout the summer.”

The Landry administration also said it lacked the funds needed to cover their administrative costs to set up the program. Last week, the Louisiana House voted unanimously to include $3.6 million in the budget to cover the administration's estimated costs to facilitate the program, KTBS reports.

Summer EBT officially begins June 4.

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