Fifteen Republican-led states have declined to take part in a brand new federal program from the Biden administration geared toward combating meals insecurity amongst low-income households.

Below the Summer Digital Profit Switch program, set to launch this yr, states will present $120 per eligible youngster to households within the U.S. to assist cowl meals prices by way of the summer time months, when many youngsters are out of college. The Summer EBT program was authorized by Congress in 2022 and goals to enhance meals and vitamin safety, entry and affordability.

The Division of Agriculture announced on Wednesday that 35 states, all 5 U.S. territories and 4 tribes had opted to affix this system. However 15 states led by Republican governors have rejected it, The New York Times reported, that means tens of millions of kids are set to lose out on advantages.

The states that determined to not take part are Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Wyoming.

Summer EBT is anticipated to offer almost $2.5 billion in grocery advantages to as many as 21 million youngsters throughout the 35 states that signed up.

“No kid should have to spend their summer hungry, or without nutritious food,” Deputy Agriculture Secretary Xochitl Torres Small mentioned in a statement. “Summer EBT is a giant step forward in meeting the needs of our nation’s children and families throughout the year, and especially in the summer months.”

Republican governors of the states that opted out of this system had various considerations, some citing the executive prices and dietary requirements.

“In the end, I fundamentally believe that we solve the problem, and I don’t believe in welfare,” Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen instructed the Lincoln Journal Star, defending his choice to not settle for the $40-a-month Summer EBT. The state will nonetheless use a special meals program that would be the “best route to ensure that Nebraska’s low-income children don’t go hungry this summer.”

Crystal FitzSimons, director of college packages on the Food Analysis & Motion Heart, told CNN that offering households with grocery advantages to buy further meals is “one of the easiest ways to support kids having access to food.”

Governors of states that enrolled in this system have expressed sturdy assist. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, described this system as “a critical lifeline for families struggling to make ends meet,” and Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a Republican, said Summer EBT was “an important new tool to give Arkansas children the food and nutrition they need.”

A few of the states that selected to take part, equivalent to California and Massachusetts, have additionally lately adopted everlasting packages granting free meals to public faculty college students as a part of rising efforts to deal with meals insecurity.

Children who qualify for such free meals in colleges are additionally eligible to obtain meals help by way of the Summer EBT program, CNN reported.

Extra households skilled meals insecurity in 2023 after pandemic-era meals help expired, CBS News reported. A report from the Division of Agriculture discovered that in 2022, about 17 million U.S. households skilled meals insecurity, in contrast with 13.5 million in 2021, when there was extra meals help accessible by way of COVID-19 help packages.