COVID Response and Continuing Resolutions: Where we are

by Etta O’Donnell-King

The COVID Response situation at the federal level seems to be changing daily.  We have been following this for weeks and it seems for a moment, the tides have begun to settle.

As of September 30, a Continuing Resolution has been signed by the President and passed into law. Continuing Resolutions, which usually operate as a way to secure funds for federal government functions during Congress closures, has been negotiated to include some opportunities for states to choose to give continued supports for families and working people. 

Pandemic EBT has been extended until September 2021 with this Resolution, as well as other other flexibilities that will extend who the program can cover. These flexibilities include new language to support meals for schools that are implementing hybrid models, allowing kids at child care facilities to qualify, giving latitude to states for providing benefits, and setting benefit levels and eligibility periods and allows Puerto Rico to implement Pandemic EBT benefits. These changes allow for more usage of the program and gives states more room to implement the program, extending the previous deadline of September 30, 2020.

This Resolution will extend flexibilities states have been given for SNAP, specifically extending certification periods, adjusting periodic reports, and adjusting interview requirements through June 2021.  This will also allow states to use simplified reporting procedures for recertifications through December 2021. By continuing these flexibilities, this will allow people to more easily and safely access SNAP as the pandemic continues.

This also includes some more flexibilities WIC and child nutrition waivers, extending their expiration dates. WIC will be allowed extended administrative waivers for remote certifications  and for in-person WIC clinic visits through September 30, 2021. Child Nutrition Program Waiver extensions will allow Summer Meal Program operators to continue serving free meals to all children 1-18; allowing meals to be served “grab and go” style with option for flexible meal times; and allowing parents and guardians to pick-up meals for their children until September 30, 2021.

These supports provide some solace but not enough. We need a bill that includes real comprehensive relief for our communities. This means extended unemployment benefits, expanded SNAP benefits, housing protections, and other supports that would make surviving in this pandemic possible for families and community members across the country. It’s what we need. It’s what we deserve.

An estimated 900,000 Oregonians could face hunger, which is doubled from pre-pandemic numbers. Around two-thirds of Oregonians used their stimulus checks to buy groceries. These are our neighbors, this is us. 

There is still time to push for change. Let’s do this.


Join us in telling our Senators: Pass a comprehensive COVID response bill for our communities.