EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Pennsylvania U.S. Senator John Fetterman has announced the Student Lunch Debt Cancellation Act to be introduced.

According to Pennsylvania U.S. Senator John Fetterman, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, and Senator Peter Welch, they will be introducing a bill that will cancel all school lunch debt.

“It’s time to come together and stop playing political games with American’s access to food. September is Hunger Action Month and I’m proud to be introducing this bill to help working families now, while we work to move our other priorities to combat food insecurity in our nation,” stated Senator Fetterman.

During the pandemic lawmakers provided free lunch to every free school in America, however, the program expired last fall. Schools that don’t normally offer free lunch provided students with lunch while expecting payment later which led to school lunch debt.

“No child in Rhode Island or anywhere in America should be penalized for not being able to afford school lunch. It`s that simple,” added Senator Whitehouse.

Officials say there are over 30 million kids in the U.S. who can’t afford school lunch and national school meal debt is about $262 million a year. In PA alone there are about half a million students with food insecurity who are about $80 million in debt, officials continued.

The press release says the bill will help take the burden off working families by paying off their school lunch and breakfast debt considering, child poverty has increased since last year and the average household income has also declined.

“Our students shouldn’t have to worry about how they’re paying for lunch,” says Senator Welch.