U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, D-N.M., and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack discuss food insecurity and the American Families Plan on Tuesday at the Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos Inc. food distribution center in Bernalillo. Argen Marie Duncan photo.

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture stopped in Bernalillo to tour a food distribution center and talk about the American Families Plan proposed legislation Tuesday.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, D-N.M., received a tour of the Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos Inc. food center on US 550 in Bernalillo. They were scheduled to visit Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo on Wednesday.
While at the food distribution center, Vilsack and Leger Fernández discussed President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.8 trillion American Families Plan and related legislation. Congress must pass those items for them to take effect.
The American Families Plan includes tax credits for families with children, two years of early childhood education for each child, two years of government-funded community college tuition and extension of the summer EBT, or food stamp, program for children who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches.
Opponents of the plan say it will put the nation further into debt the next generation will have to shoulder.
“We know that our goal is our children having access to healthy, nutritious food and connecting with local farmers,” Leger Fernández said.
She said she wants enough money for families and children, including children with parents who were incarcerated and thus don’t qualify for as many benefits.
Vilsack said COVID relief packages brought a dramatic decrease in food insecurity.
“We know these programs work,” he said.
Vilsack hopes to introduce more choices, such as fresh produce, to school lunches to reduce health problems like obesity, as well as improve learning.
“So this is really a cost-saving measure,” he said.
Asked about how the American Families Plan would be funded, he said Biden would expect families making $400,000 a year or more to pay for it.