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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (Northern Mariana Islands)

The Marianas will have an additional $12 to $16 million in food aid for families with school-age children thanks to legislation enacted. The continuing resolution with the new Pandemic EBT funding was signed into law on Thursday. Democratic leadership extended Pandemic EBT to the Marianas after the U.S. Food and Nutrition Services informed me on September 14—and I informed Speaker Nancy Pelosi—that the Marianas Nutrition Assistance Program would run out of money sometime next year.

Congressional committee staff estimate from $12 to $16 million will be paid out to Marianas families, but how quickly is now up to the Commonwealth government. Your congressional office has asked FNS to give the Commonwealth technical assistance to get Pandemic EBT up and running; and the federal agency agreed. As the name suggests, the program is intended to get money to families through an electronic benefits transfer—EBT—system. FNS approved the Commonwealth’s plan to stand up an EBT system in fiscal 2018, but three years later the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, which runs NAP, has failed to follow through.